I hope you like this chapter. I'm sorry it's so late. I had a hard time figuring out how I wanted this to go, I hope it isn't horrible. I could give you a long author's note, but here have a chapter and an interesting fact instead.
This chapter contains a bit of talk about funeral rites, while you can google most of it and read the articles on wiki, the most famous sumptuous burial for a Viking was for a woman back in the 9th century, I found that interesting because it provides a lot of insight to the culture. The wiki article says the woman was likely a queen or a priestess, even cooler eh?
Chapter Seven: Don't You Worry Child
Bitter cold. The trip was so bitterly cold. Hiccup couldn't remember a time that he did not have a home to return to or a fire to sit by. His father had always taken care of him and while the stern leader was not the cuddliest of people, he was sure that his son never lacked proper attire.
Sure, he had been given supplies, but the supplies he had been given were what was normally given to the departed of his status. Vikings gave grave goods, but Hiccup had shuddered at the idea of taking a servant into exile with him. He had been given his weapons, a seaxe and a bow, fresh and dried meat and fruit. A rolled up treated hide wrapped in sailcloth, a funeral blanket, fresh herbs for cooking, scented oil, an oilcloth covered shape, and even some gold. Which oh yes, that would be so terribly useful on a supposedly abandoned island.
Hiccup took stock of his supplies the first night he slept in the boat, with Toothless curled behind him, "Well apparently they think I'll need gold in exile, but not a good book."
Toothless snorted behind him and Hiccup smiled, "Yeah, where would they even find a book anyway?"
He had woke from an uneasy doze at the first blush of dawn. He'd stretched his tightly curled body and shook out his legs, wincing at the ache as the blood flowed more easily. Behind him Toothless grumbled and shook frost off his wings.
Hiccup looked around him with a sigh. The air was always chilly near Berk, but the farther he got out to sea toward the island he was to spend the next year, the temperature turned positively icy. His blanket did little to protect him, it wasn't meant to keep a living being warm, and its only purpose was to shroud the dead as they journeyed to their place in the afterlife.
"Oh! Toothless aren't you cold?"
Toothless seemed to shrug, but it could have been a twitch as he scratched at a few stubborn patches of frost. Perhaps dragons didn't feel the cold the way humans did, after all, Hiccup didn't have thick hide or scales.
Hiccup was careful as he stood, shuddering as icy spray hit him. The boat had been free floating for a while as Hiccup had taken the sail down and stopped rowing late last night. He only had a few stone lanterns and not nearly enough fat to waste. Now he anxiously checked the position of the sun and regretted not paying more attention to the sky last night. While he had a map and as any proper Viking knew the mental area surrounding his island, it was easier to tell by the stars which direction he was going in. After some deliberation he decided that they were still close enough on course and tucked his map away.
It was foggy, and the waves were choppy which made him nervous, but he closed his eyes and listened for the sound of breaking waves, when he heard none he decided that he might not be close enough to a shore. Toothless snorted again, a very human frown on his face as he rolled his eyes as though he thought Hiccup was being silly. Which to a dragon that could fly, and probably had the directional sense of a bird, Hiccup probably was.
Toothless stood, he hadn't quite figured out exactly why they couldn't just fly to where they were going, but he looked skyward and back at Hiccup very pointedly.
"Yes, yes, we can fly but we need to make sure we don't lose the boat… huh."
Toothless peered at him, his eyes almost seemed to glow as the reflected the dim light that cut the fog, "You know, if I were to attach some rope to your harness, do you think you could handle pulling the boat to land?"
Toothless snorted again; finally his human was getting it.
"Yes, you're the smart dragon and I'm the dumb human," he laughed again, how had he not thought of it earlier?
Well, he couldn't be blamed overly much, after all he had just been banished from his home, it's not like he had been thinking very clearly.
It took a bit of time to locate rope, which apparently wasn't a very necessary grave good for dead people, but there was enough length from the front of the boat that Hiccup thought would hold up until Toothless managed to find shore.
Toothless cocked his head and pricked his ears forward as Hiccup puttered around the boat, the human had found rope, what else was he looking for?
"Ah, here we are," Hiccup stood up straight grasping a handsome box that had been wrapped neatly in oilcloth. He opened the box and unpacked a rolled up length of rawhide. Toothless watch him curiously as he unrolled it to reveal five gleaming fish hooks each the length of his finger.
"You didn't really think I'd make you haul this boat without breakfast first right?"
The sleek dragon walked carefully over to his human and furled his wings around the two of them to provide a bit of protection from the cold wind as Hiccup took a bit of dried meat and placed it on the hook. He frowned at it, not quite sure if it would really catch much of anything, but decided that he also wouldn't catch anything if he didn't at least try. After that he carefully threaded stout threaded string that had been braided for strength through and about the end of the hook and knotted it with equal care. He didn't fancy the idea of having to make new ones if he lost this one.
At least he had Toothless, he thought slightly drowsy despite having just woken up. That was a bit strange, considering he wasn't exactly toasty, but the sound of Toothless breathing was comforting and maybe his stress was just starting to catch up to him.
"Maybe I should have said a fishing Viking instead of a bread making Viking," he murmured, "Some people have no sense of humor."
Toothless grumbled, "Well, alright, I was only half joking, I make a good shepherd's pie."
Toothless rolled his eyes again, his sharper eyes scanning around the boat. He didn't like the scent of a storm brewing in the wind nor did he like how gray everything seemed. Of course, as a dragon he'd be fine, his kind was bred to weather storms, but his human was already cold, it wouldn't do to keep him out in the stranded in the ocean.
It took about a half hour before Hiccup perked up as he felt a tug on the string in his fingers. The hook hadn't traveled far beneath the boat and he hoped that whatever was at the end of the hook wasn't too much strain on the hook. He jerked the string once, just to be sure. He felt a sharper tug and looped the threaded string over and over around his palms, then gave a very sharp yank.
Which as far as good ideas go, probably came right behind nailing a Nightfury with a bola. If it hadn't been for Toothless bracing him, he might have been dragged over the side of the boat. The moment of fear melted away into one of excitement at the idea of what must be on the other side of the line.
Between the two of them, Hiccup finally managed to bring the fish alongside. What he got was, well, it was a cod at least, but only perhaps the length from wrist to elbow, certainly not the behemoth it had felt like.
He rolled his eyes as Toothless snorted at him, "Okay, maybe not a fishing Viking either."
Feeding Toothless had taken the better part of the morning, but it was a small price to pay since the dragon was going to be flying the last stretch toward the isle that was to be their home for the next year.
Hiccup, despite the pain of being exiled, was beginning to look forward to it. It was all about state of mind, he decided. After all, this would give him a chance to spend a whole year studying dragons and well, being himself.
The thought of being without his dad hurt too much to linger on, the wound too fresh, but Hiccup felt a faint wistful brush of regret that he'd left behind a group of kids that were almost, sort of, his friends.
He managed to catch a few more fish, grateful to the Gods that they had been easy on him so far.
Hiccup attached the ropes to the saddle and made sure they were secure, "You sure about this Toothless? I could row for a while, might warm me up a bit actually."
Toothless raised his snout and gave him an unimpressed look, "Alright, alright, I wasn't saying you weren't able to do it."
After one last check to be sure everything was secure, Hiccup climbed up awkwardly into the saddle, still unused to riding on a dragon. "Okay Toothless, easy does it now."
The spring from the board rocked the whole boat and Hiccup smiled despite his suggestion being ignored.
The bitter sting of frosty air made his eyes water, or perhaps they had been watering for a whole different reason, but Hiccup would never admit to it. It was easy to get lost in the breathtaking sight of the ocean spread out beneath them. Hiccup didn't think he'd ever get over the way it felt to be a-dragonback, it was enough to numb the edges of his mind. The gray thick fog dissipated when they flew up, but perhaps it was better to stay down in the fog because it only got colder the higher they climbed.
He reached down to pat the smooth black hide beneath him. His fingers tracing the hard scales that formed along the sturdy neck, following them as they shrank into seemingly delicate scales no bigger than his thumb nail. "Well, I won't be completely alone, eh buddy?"
Toothless murmured back, his sharp eyes scanning to make sure he guided them in the proper direction. They were free, but the human was insisting that he had to travel to this specific island. Perhaps it was like the breeding call, the feeling that drove dragons back to the place of their birth to mate. It wasn't as though the Nightfury had any other place to be. He hadn't felt the compelling need to return to the Queen, and he was perfectly content to stay away from that.
They flew for more than two hours. Hiccup was growing worried as the sun began to sink down. Surely the island was not much further away, did the tribe really expect outcasts to make it so far away? Perhaps the tribe just never thought it would be a pre-teen boy making the journey.
Toothless let out a raucous scream, surging ahead with new inspired strength. Hiccup searched the fog, but his eyes were not like those of his dragon's and he was happy enough to trust Toothless to see them to the shore safely. And if it wasn't the exact outcast island, it would have to suit because he wasn't going to spend another night in that boat, at least not in the open water.
Hiccup shifted eagerly in his saddle, the aches and cold forgotten as the island came into view. From this height and distance, he could guess that it wasn't as large as Berk, but it was a good size. He shuddered and unclenched his hands from where he'd jammed them beneath his thighs for warmth, "Okay Toothless, take us down buddy."
The descent was smooth and Hiccup unclenched his jaw as the air warmed the closer they got the island. There was dense foliage from what he could see, and not as much snow as he'd expected. He slid down from the saddle and couldn't stop his tumble into the damp cold sand. His body had locked up from two hours in cold weather and a prototype saddle. He felt pins and needles through his extremities.
Toothless decided that Hiccup had the right of it and slumped tiredly to the ground beside him. Before his crash to Berk, he could have probably stayed aloft for 4 hours at a time, if not more, but he didn't account for the loss of a tail fin, carrying a human, and hauling a boat miles across the open ocean. It was harder work to stay in the air despite the air currents.
Hiccup sighed deeply, waiting for the painful tingles to stop. After studying the sky, and trying to judge what time it was from the sun that he couldn't see because it was too much to ask for a clear sky, he decided that he would have enough time to at least build a temporary shelter.
He rolled over onto his stomach and looked around thoughtfully. It would be best to build a shelter back from the shore, but not in the forest because he didn't know what was in there. A blissful sigh from his right made him stop, "oh yeah, one of the most feared dragons known to man is sand bathing a foot from me."
Toothless look at the boy with that heartwarming, and a bit strange, smile of his and it was Hiccup's turn to snort.
"Yes you look very very scary."
Toothless ignored him for rolling over as well, flipping gritty sand everywhere. Hiccup laughed despite the situation, lifting a bit of weight he hadn't even noticed was there. "Well Buddy, we can't sit around here and expect a shelter to build itself. Up and at them right?"
Toothless gave his human a very pointed stare before lumbering off to splash at the shallows. "Thanks, that means so much Toothless."
The first thing Hiccup did was pull the boat ashore; which was difficult due to the size of the boat versus his lack of muscles. After that he went through all his supplies once more, just to be completely sure he had everything.
Working with Gobber had been helpful because he could at least repair his seaxe should it break, he would have to use it to build a shelter. He wondered absently if there was any ore on the island, but even if there wasn't, Toothless could help him find it.
His eyes flickered up towards said dragon who was watching colorful fish in the shallows. Well, maybe Toothless could help him.
In the end, Hiccup decided that there just wasn't enough time to plan out a living space in a few hours of gloomy patchy light. So instead he dragged the boat further inland and flipped it upside down, it would be serviceable enough for the night. He'd piled up slightly damp driftwood from the sea. How was he going to get it dry enough for a fire?
Hiccup tilted his head in thought as Toothless drew up alongside him, "What is it Buddy-
Hiccup yelped as two and a half fish smacked him in the face. "Er, thank you Toothless…"
Toothless looked at him expectantly than down at the fish, and then back up to Hiccup's face, "Ah uh, you know I don't eat my fish raw anymore- NO, no Toothless!"
Toothless unabashedly spat a ball of fire at his human, amusement curling in his stomach as he watched the boy run around slightly singed, not useful was he?
"Well at least I don't have to worry about starting a fire," Hiccup mumbled as he watched the blaze crackle merrily over the wood. Hiccup walked over to the edge of the woods, it wasn't quite as dark as he'd thought it would be. Nervously, he reached up and hacked down a few good branches the width of his thumb and longer than his arm, the have to make a good sized spit for the fish. After collecting the branches, he settled down near the fire and began to whittle the ends away to sharpen them.
The sand was wet enough that he didn't have to hunt down stones to ground the spit, the fish weren't too heavy and he didn't want to spend energy gathering up rocks to line a proper pit if he wasn't going to be using it more permanently.
He spitted the fish and laughed when he found the half a fish, "here you go buddy, just one of these will be enough for me alone."
Toothless purred nipping it gently and tossing it in the air with great flare. Hiccup smiled and sighed again, so far so good, he had shelter for the night, a fire, some food, and of course his best friend. His smile grew wider as Toothless settled closer to him, a wing arching over the two of them to further cup the heat. It was the first time Hiccup had felt warm since he'd left the island.
The night he spent underneath his boat was in some ways better and in some ways worse. It was at least warm beneath the boat where only an edge was raised to allow heat from the fire through and Toothless slept curled around the fire protecting the small entrance with his body. That was the good part, the comforting part. Sure it was gritty and there was sand in places he'd rather there wasn't, but all in all, at least it wasn't somewhere in the ocean. The bad part was that now that he was as safe as he could get for the moment, he was left alone with his thoughts.
How was his father? Was he alright? Was he even missed? What if after a year he came home and he wasn't allowed back?
Hiccup curled up tightly on himself, self-doubt and fear rolling through him. What if he wasn't enough? He'd never been anything more than just, well just a hiccup before Toothless and his dragon training. What if he got Toothless killed because he was inept? What if he died and left Toothless alone stranded on an island and unable to fly off it?
On top of all that, he'd never really spent the night in such conditions before. When he'd been away from the village he camped with his father, but there was no thick hide tent, no sleeping furs, and no sound of his snoring father.
Instead the night seemed to be louder than he could ever recall, every sound, whether it was from just some harmless nocturnal animal or not was magnified to him. He knew he was being silly, with Toothless right outside, but he'd only been friends with him for a while, what if he decided a human wasn't worth the trouble?
Hiccup couldn't fight off the exhaustion despite his crowded thoughts; the last week had been the most draining of his life. He drifted off to the sound of Toothless breathing near him and the warmth of the fire on his face.
Toothless had been waiting since Hiccup had laid down for the boy to fall asleep. He was antsy, he didn't like being in new territory without at least knowing more about the area.
As soon as he was sure his human had finally succumbed to his exhaustion Toothless stood and stretched like a giant cat. He shook out his wings then furled them back tightly to his sides. The island held no scent of dragons that he could detect, but that didn't mean much, only that no dragons had recently been near this beach.
He patrolled the border of the thick woods, his eyes still sharp despite the darkness. He saw nothing, but his ears pricked at the sound of animals moving throughout the woods. That was not necessarily a bad thing, nor was it a good one. There was a possibility that there were no large animals on this island, and that meant no large predators, but the alternative was that there wouldn't be enough food for a growing human. Fish was fine for dragons, even if Toothless sometimes preferred meat that was a little redder, but Hiccup was used to more fat in his food even if it didn't show on his skinny frame. He could always scout the area from the air, or perhaps catch a small whale. There had to be some animals with blubber if there were none that had fat.
Toothless continued to scout for several minutes, until he was sure that they weren't being stalked in the darkness. He returned to his spot, guarding the opening of the boat, with his body if need be, and kept his eyes on the edge of the forest, though he preferred to sleep in trees. Perhaps he could manage to convince Hiccup of the same?
It had been a strange few weeks for Toothless. He was not regretful of his actions that led him to where he was now. What happened had happened. What is simply is. While he had discovered a certain amount of affection for the young man, he found most humans to be confusing at best and at worse insufferable.
What is was that they needed each other. Toothless felt the gentleness of the soul beneath the body of the man-child. This boy needed him and it gave purpose to his life where before there had only been the Queen. And he needed Hiccup as well, for the boy had earned his trust and the right to ride on his back. It was an easy relationship and Toothless felt no qualms in teasing the human when he felt the boy needed it.
While he found human relationships confusing, he did understand pain. The fact that it was emotional did not mean it hurt less.
The sand was pleasantly and distantly cool against his hide, there was a nice breeze blowing past his muzzle that put him at ease, for nothing would sneak up on him from the forest as long as the breeze continued.
He titled his head up to observe the stars, his instinctual knowledge of direction born of the magic that all dragons possessed was very centered on the sky and stars. The stars were the rulers of the sky for dragons, they told of things to come and things that had passed. Despite being a creature more suited for the night, Toothless could not read the stars as well as some of his kin long passed. Toothless was sure that things would work out whatever the stars may hold in store for them, he was a Nightfury after all.
Four months later
A figure jumped nimbly from gnarled branch to branch, his eyes focused on each jump ahead. His auburn hair was wild, curled and slightly tangled near his shoulders. He wore a hide tunic with furred sleeves, leggings, and moccasins on his feet. They were incredibly thin soled, providing grip so that he wouldn't fall from a branch but protection from scrapes. If it weren't for the temperature, he might have even gone barefoot.
He was thin, but there was a tone to his muscles that only came from use over several months. He was streamlined, not bulky, and he had a wiry strength to him.
He paused on one branch, straightening out to gaze back in the direction he'd come. Behind him a grove of trees reached heavenward, thick gnarled branches twisting about one another like interlocking fingers forming a natural platform of branches. Upon those branches stood a small house made of logs, all sealed with pitch to block both cold and dampness.
Turning back around, the boy wore a grin that was almost as feral as the dragon that appeared in front of him. He said nothing, merely a vocalized growl. It was a Nightmare, but rather than fight or even attack, the other dragon swayed is neck, eyes half lidded. It reached out eagerly for the gentle scratches the boy gave under its chin.
With a pat, the boy leapt away again, slowly making his way lower to the forest floor. He paused yet again when he spotted who he'd been looking for.
The black dragon perked his ears up at the soft whisper of his name and leapt neatly to a spot near the boy, kneeling carefully to expose a carefully maintained saddle.
With a whoop the lanky boy jumped easily into the saddle in one fluid moment, the instant his had his seat, the dragon unfurled his wings and leapt into the air, a picture of fluid grace. The two sped through the trees, two beings that were one as they dodged trees and branches. They shore was slowly coming into view and the boy gripped the saddle even more tightly, his body leaning forward as the broke through the barrier of the woods and climbed into the sky with dizzying loops. From behind them, other dragons winged up and called to one another in a chorus of whistles, roars, and chirps.
Hiccup was free. Well and truly free. There was no ground, no rules, no need to be afraid here. This was his and Toothless's domain. It was a sanctuary not only for the two of them, but also for the other dragons that they'd found in their time spent on the island.
No creatures lived on this island without his knowing. No plants grew on the forest floor that he had not discovered. In the last four months Hiccup felt an awakening within him. He could be whatever he wanted here. He could talk to the dragons all day and every day if he wanted. He could spend endless hours working out their quirks, things the liked and disliked. He could fly for hours with his best friend and not have to hide his excitement and joy. He could spend his hours tinkering with devices and no one would eye him. There were no cruel whispers, no vicious gossip, no backhanded compliments, what had been a curse had slowly become a blessing.
Hiccup hadn't realized it when he left, but he'd been suffocating under the heavy blanket of society of what his village expected him to be. Who knows what would have happened if he'd stepped into that ring? Hiccup didn't know and frankly he didn't care anymore. The first month had been difficult; he had struggled to make a decent structure on the ground despite him knowing the general architecture behind building it.
It had been an accident when he'd stumbled across the grove of trees that were now the base of his home. Their branches had stretched upwards like hands cupped together and now they cradled his home. That had been a difficult month, building and planning, making the things he'd need to survive and coming to grips with leaving his other home behind.
The second month had been one that while physically was less demanding, it was more emotionally difficult. He had to separate his past life from his new one. Spending sleepless nights awake had left him so tired he could barely stand some days… Odin bless Toothless who hadn't wavered for the whole time he'd been here.
It was only in the third and fourth month that Hiccup had discovered the other dragons, or rather they had discovered him.
The old panic had rose inside him when he'd seen them, but Toothless was a steady presence and warned the other dragons off before they even could attack. From then on a slow truce formed until Hiccup could walk among the other dragons without fear, in fact, the dragons even came to look forward to him pampering them by catching food and giving them treats.
He'd expected Toothless to be jealous, but the dragon had been haughty to the other dragons. It was very clear who Hiccup cared the most about and Toothless liked to preen about it. After all, Hiccup rode on no other dragon and allowed no other dragon inside his home. Toothless was also one of the strongest dragons Hiccup had ever had the chance to observe. Though shorter than the Nightmares and Timberjacks, he was feared even by the other dragons.
It was a beautiful day. There was no gloom, the weather was actually fairly warm, though warm was always a matter of opinion. Hiccup thought that it wasn't freezing which to him meant warm; Toothless couldn't really feel such minute differences due to the thickness of his hide and scales.
It was the perfect day for flying at any rate and perhaps later he would go fishing. Maybe even after that he'd go play with the little Terrors that had joined the island last month. They were just going through a wheel in the sky when Hiccup noticed something strange from the corner of his eye, something he hadn't seen in months.
And not just any ship, it was a ship from Berk.
So yeah, not completely happy with how it turned out but I wanted to get this out. I'd like to get this story done before the next movie comes out. So CC is great and any review is valued.
Don't worry about him adjusting so quickly, I wanted to get in his landing and the time skip, but there will be flashbacks to important moments on the island. Thank you for reading