What He Loved Most

He was already limping, and it was barely noon. Occasionally, a pained expression would drift across his face, always gone the moment someone called his name.

Because people were always calling after him nowadays. He was the hero, who defeated the Green Death and saved the village. He was the dragon-boy, who could soothe a savage and feral beast with calm words and a gentle hand. He was the same person, seen in an entirely new light, and they just couldn't get enough of him; though not all the attention was entirely good. Girls were giving Astrid a hard time, as jealous girls tend to do, and a discomfiting number of guys just a little older than him would jeer whenever he passed.

Of course, they never did more than that. Because it was only Hiccup's hand on his neck that stopped a decidedly unimpressed Night Fury from putting them in their place when the other young men decided to be less than polite to his human.

The younger kids Hiccup had an easier time dealing with. They were more open-minded, as children usually are, and were for the most part eager to have everything to do with dragons. And why not? So nearly every afternoon, they would gather at what was once the dragon training arena and learn from him.

Little Terrors adored Hiccup, and usually followed him around like lost puppies, swooping and ducking around his head and shoulders until he gave in (always far too easily) and gave them some attention. So it was always easy for him to gather up an armful for his "class"; while they could be vicious, the Terrors went over very well with the kids so long as they were gentle with them, and several were always begging to take one home. Hiccup was sure he irked a lot of parents in always saying yes, but he hadn't gotten in trouble for it so far...

Aside from children, quite a few older Vikings wanted his teachings as well. After the showdown at the dragon's nest, while Hiccup was indisposed, his friends (plural; because apparently, that's what Ruff, Tuff, Fishlegs and Snotlout were now) had done the best they could in instructing the other villagers on how to handle the dragons. And they did a pretty good job, which Hiccup told them frequently. He'd only really given them a quick crash-course, but they'd still managed to keep things in order while he'd been asleep. Still, the Vikings weren't exactly comfortable with taking the creatures off the ground without the "dragon-boy" around to tell them how.

So Hiccup found himself a new designation; every day, dragons. And he was just fine with that. Sure, hobbling around the village doing this and that was rather exhausting, but (clumsy as he was) Toothless wouldn't let him fall. It'd be so much easier to just ride Toothless around, and he was sure the constant grumblings in the Night Fury's throat when he stumbled, unsteady on his prosthetic, were probably along those same lines.

But the villagers were still uneasy around the dark dragon. Hiccup would be patient, though; his people simply needed time to adjust. And if that meant he'd limp all over the place (when he'd so much rather glide), then that was perfectly fine.

To be fair, the fault wasn't entirely the villagers'. Toothless had never exactly been amiable with any sentient beings other than himself (as well as, now, his human), and the only thing stopping him from doing more than outright glare at the Vikings was Hiccup's gentle request, and the soft hand that rested in the spot behind his ears.

Still, he was a wild animal (a very intelligent wild animal) and it was perfectly natural for him to detest the Vikings. Hiccup, who knew very well he was probably biased in his opinion, felt that his people should be willing to abandon some of their pride and quit with the cry of "Night Fury!" every time he and Toothless whistled through the sky.

Nonetheless, his new home--the new Berk--was like a wish come true. Three months ago, he would've heavily doubted the possibility of dragons becoming as common around the village as sheep and cattle. And he would've also thought it highly unlikely his father, Stoick the Vast, would be willing to allow a deadly Night Fury to come indoors (so long as the dragon was sneaky about it, Stoick would turn a blind eye).

He loved waking up to the croons of his dragon, curled up tightly with him on his bed; he loved the affectionate ruffle of his hair his dad would give him on his way out the door; he loved being met down the lane by Ruff, Tuff, Snotlout, Fishlegs and Astrid; he loved hearing the rumblings in his favorite creature's chest as the Night Fury found himself surrounded by chatty humans for the day, and loved knowing it was for show; he loved spending hours with his friends, his people, teaching them about the things he loved...

He loved sharing a look with toxic green eyes, recieving a playful nudge from a powerful jaw, swinging himself into his favorite place in the world and feeling the wind rushing through his hair that meant it was time for what he loved most.

Soft purring drew him from his reverie and he glanced over into wide, round eyes. He felt himself smile without any conscious descision to, and reached up to stroke the dragon's snout. "Hey, buddy."

Toothless mumbled and nuzzled at him, rustling his wings. His human had stopped walking (or attempting to, anyway) and had been staring into space for quite awhile. Within that time, a handful of people had wandered over, ready to call out to his human--as if his Hiccup was at their beck and call!--but he'd warned them all away. And now his boy had shifted closer, bringing those fragile arms up around Toothless' neck and hugging him tight.

Oh, how he loved this little human. For just a moment, he cupped his wings around them both, veiling he and his boy. And in the dimness of this newly-created hollow, he could see his Hiccup smile.

"They can make do without us for a few hours, don't you think?"

And before Toothless could offer any insight on this sudden contemplation, his human was gripping the harness, clambering unsteadily into the spot meant for him and him alone. His boy shifted for a moment, and then there was the soft click that meant it was time to dive up into the sky.

Spreading his wings, delighting in the laughter of his human, Toothless did a few quick loops; his rider adjusted the tail-fin flawlessly, as always, and the Night Fury felt his spirits soar up into the clouds alongside them.

This--this was what he loved most.


A/N: Phewwww.... First ever HTTYD fanfic. I think it shows. Oh, but I had to write something! C: