A/N: Yet another one-shot...I know, I know, I should be working on my other story, but the muses are attacking rather viciously, and so, ta-da! Enjoy!

Got this idea after re-watching the movie again. ToothlessxHiccup FRIENDSHIP rocks!

Disclaimer: I do not own How to Train Your Dragon, but we can all dream.

Edit: This file was edited on April 20, 2010.

You Don't Mess with Dragon Riders

Berk, a place where it snows six months of the year and hails the other three, where nothing edible grows, and the inhabitants, the Vikings, tough men bred for killing and generally bashing dragons' brains out of their heads were not those normal drunks to go mess around with. Or else you shall find yourself in the Healer's tent and shall be treat none too gently, either.

Berk, home to the fiercest kind of barbarians there is and the devils of the seven seas. Berk, home to many kinds of dragons who gave even the Vikings problems. Berk, where only fools dare to wage war on sea or even on land.

Berk, where the weathers are always irritating. At least to a skinny blacksmith's apprentice, anyway.

"I can't see a thing," Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III groaned as he tried to look through the thick curtain of fog that had settled down on his town for the last two days, squinting to focus on subtle things that can help him tell where he was. Well, where he was in the forest. It had been a month since he found Toothless, a Night Fury, and they were on pretty good terms now that they have made it clear nobody going's to kill one another. It had also been a month since Hiccup and Toothless established a canyon deep in the woods that that would be their home base.

And still Hiccup got lost. Amazing.

To be truthful, the fog deserved only part of the blame. Hiccup had gone to the same spot, at least twice a day everyday for one month, and still he sometimes mistook a marked tree for another. With the fog in the way, it was even harder to backtrack, and Hiccup had a sinking feeling it would be a little more than just a small hassle to either get back to Berk, his Viking hometown or to Toothless. Great. The gods really feel like bullying him today, don't they?

"Dad'll have a panic attack and I'll get grounded for sure if this keeps up," Hiccup grunted, reverting to his habit of talking to himself when he was alone. He climbed a boulder and looked down at the ground before him, but it was covered with the thick blanket of fog that seemed to tease him, to dare him if he wanted to plunge deeper into its heart.

Hiccup was faced with a dilemma: either stumble through the woods blindly to get to the obviously waiting Night Fury or turn back around and also stumble through the woods blindly to get back to the village and the safety of his home. Decisions, decisions.

The boy stood still for a few seconds, squinting and shouldering the large basket of fish on his back, before shrugging and continued forward. He was already halfway toward the canyon anyway (or so he hoped), and it would be hours before nightfall one way or another. No matter how lost he was, it could not be possible for him to take so long to get back to Berk, right? Besides, if Hiccup could reach the canyon, then it would be more than easy to find his way home. For some reasons, Hiccup remembered the trips coming back from Toothless' place than coming to it.

But the boy hadn't taken three steps before something hit him squarely in the chest and sent him crashing backward, hitting the boulder with his head and left stars dancing before his eyes. In his process, the basket of fish was dropped and it fell over, spilling its contents onto the ground. But its carrier was having much more trouble than just the hit.

Soon after he was slammed against the rock, a crushing foot was placed on his chest and pressed and pressed until Hiccup thought a little more and it would break his ribs.

"It's the wimp alright. The village's shame," a voice sneered, and Hiccup squinted up with a bit difficult considering his chest was being crushed and he had trouble breathing. He almost thought he was seeing Snoutlout, but the boy crushing him was different. His hair was blonde, clipped short and fierce blue eyes glared down at him with hatred and a touch of jealousy.

"What'cha gonna do with 'im?" another voice asked, this one high-pitched and held a strange wailing quality to it. Hiccup, his hands encircling the crushing foot weakly, glanced to the place where the voice had come from and saw a thin, also blonde boy and clipped hair but with dark, dark green eyes, almost black. His front teeth poked right out of his mouth, and his left eye was wider than his right. He was downright a half-troll.

The boy who was holding him down sneered, cracking his knuckles. "Why do yer ask, Brother? We teach him how to be a real Viking."

Hiccup, hearing this, started to panic. "W-wait!" he gagged. "What did I do wrong to you? Who are you guys anyway?!"

The one with his foot on Hiccup's chest paused. Then he laughed. "Aw, Gregory, he wanna know what he's done wrong! Isn't that cute?"

His friend cackled in reply, the sound like Toothless' claws on a smooth stone wall. The muscular one looked down at his captive and grinned wickedly. "I dunno. Maybe you're born wrong?" he said, and brought his fist hurling toward Hiccup's face.

I hate mist, Toothless thought to himself as he looked at the blanket of white smoke surrounding him moodily. Toothless had always enjoyed seeing things, second only to flying, and this prevented him from doing just that. He couldn't fly without the human hatchling helping him, so when Hiccup was gone doing something in his dwellings, all the Night Fury could do was observe things around him, and to his surprises, Toothless saw that there were many details life had that before he met the hatchling, he'd never thought of or paused long enough to find out. So he spent hours after hours just sitting still and watching. That hatchling had really changed him.

Ah, speaking of which…

Toothless lifted his head as he heard footsteps approaching. He started standing up, ears pricked, eagerness at seeing the boy again (how strange; since when had he grown so attached to the hatchling?) and the amount of fish he brought. The dragon was touched. Even in this weather, and with the human's bad eyesight, the hatchling was still going out here to meet him?

"Ya sure 'ere is safe?" a strange voice suddenly sounded from beyond the fog, on the other side of the lake. It wasn't Hiccup's voice. The dragon's eyes instantly narrowed, and his eyesight sharpened until he could see who was on the other side.

He could make out two figures. One was skinny and tall, the other short but broad, both wearing those idiotic-looking horned hats the Vikings liked so much. The broad figure seemed to have something long dangling from his left shoulder.

Then the smell hit Toothless. It was blood. The young hatchling's blood. He had smelled it once before when Hiccup had cut his hand with a sharp point from his prosthetic tailfin, and he didn't like it. Not because the smell was putrid, but because of the one who had that smell. Blood means some sort of misfortune, and Toothless didn't want any kind of harm to come to the hatchling. After all, he depended on him to fly. At least that was the reason Toothless used to cover his growing affection for the young boy.

He had already stood halfway when another voice spoke, this one drenched in a tone that Toothless wanted to silent more than anything else. It was rough, violent and arrogant. Of every trace Toothless could stand from a human, one he could not bring himself to accept was arrogance.

"Aw, c'mon, don't worry, Greg. This is the perfect excuse for this wimp's little rough expression 'ere. He's not gonna tell his daddy, either. Nobody believed him anyway. That's all he is, a liar, a wimp and a shame to all of Berk. Our dad's gonna be the next chieftain. Or us. Hiccup here's gonna be dead long 'fore that, trust me. Bah! Shootin' down a Night Fury? What kind of three-year-olds did he think we were?"

Toothless snarled softly as he realized who the voice was talking about. Hiccup is not a liar, and he isn't a wimp either. Nobody dared to free a Night Fury like did, nobody dared to come near any dragon unarmed like he did, and nobody were bright enough to befriend a dragon like he did. Toothless hadn't seen one moment in the month they shared together when Hiccup could be considered any of the thing that brute was calling him. If there was a liar anywhere, it was him.

Now the figures were approaching, and Toothless easily made them out now, although they still couldn't see him. Hiccup was slung over the broad one's shoulder, who were seemingly trying to handle him roughly on purpose. Blood dripped down from his face and hit the ground as they walked.

Toothless' blood boiled, but with as much control as he could muster, he managed to not go lunging at the humans and rose into a silent crouch, then paced toward them slowly, like a stalking predator. With speed and silence of one who had hunted skittish preys for centuries, Tootless rounded the lake in less than five minutes, being wary not to come too close or make too much noises so the visitors could hear him.

Suddenly, a moan issued from Hiccup. "Toothless…" he muttered.

The Night Fury froze, his eyes wide. Did he just see him? No way. He was still having his face down, so…

The broad human threw the boy down and put a foot on Hiccup's throat, none too gently. Once again, Toothless tensed, eyes narrowed into tiny, angry slits. He went forward faster.

"Yeah, and that's what you're gonna be like if you don't shut up, wimp," the broad human sneered. Then he picked up his boot from Hiccup's neck and made it connect to his left cheek, hard, sending him rolling two times before he stopped. The boy coughed once, twice, and Toothless could see droplets of blood dropping from his lips.

Toothless saw red.

With an enraged roar, the Night Fury raced toward the two boys, and before they could make any move, he clawed the broad one's face, making three parallel deep scratches on his forehead, then used his tail to hit him across the face again, and catching his vest by the back with his sharp teeth, he shook the boy a few more times roughly and tossed him into the lake, landing with a mighty splash. Then he turned to the skinny one, who had by now cowered back, mismatched eyes wide with fear and his knees knocking, babbling some nonsense that even Toothless could not make head or tail of. He growled angrily and charged at the pathetic sight, and then stopped when his nose was a half an inch from his face, baring his teeth.

The human's eyes rolled back into his head and he fainted.

Snorting in disgust, Toothless caught him by the back of his vest and turned around to face the broad boy's terrified eyes, who had gotten out of the lake, dripping wet, and seemed like he was trying to get away quietly. They held quiet for a moment or two, and then Toothless tossed the big one the pathetic excuse of a human to him and roared, lowering himself until his belly nearly brushed against the grass.

Getting the gesture, the one who was still conscious picked his brother up and ran fast, out of the canyon and into the woods. Toothless hoped the wolves were still hungry and were hunting. He wished they get mauled first before they were eaten, too. That will be lots of fun.

Now that the threat was officially gone, Toothless bounded toward his human hatchling, who was still lying in a dazed heap where he had landed when that human kicked him. Purring softly, reassuringly, the dragon tucked his head underneath the somewhat prone, thin frame of his rider and gently lifted him up with his snout, so now he was lying on his back. Hiccup groaned softly, but didn't open his eyes.

Toothless then went behind him and once again used his snout to lift the young hatchling, this time leaning him against his side, and using a large black wing, the dragon covered the boy, hoping to protect him from the chill of the fog. Craning his neck so that he could reach Hiccup without having to move his wing, Toothless started licking the blood from a large, bruising gash on his rider's forehead and the forming swell on Hiccup's left cheek. As he did, he wanted nothing more than to find the two pathetic humans up there and chew on their limbs, slowly. But the important thing now was the human hatchling. The wolves and other wild animals on the island would take care of them.

Tomorrow, when the fog lifted, Hiccup would wake and would try to stumble through the woods back to Berk, telling his worried father and the village that he fell down a small canyon because he couldn't see in the fog. He would cleverly evade the questions of exactly why he was in the forest in the first place when the fog was lingering around. Tomorrow, he would rest some days at home until all his injuries were healed, would skip a couple days of dragon training, and would return to Toothless (sneak out, more likely) with another basket of fish in two or three days and they would start riding again. Tomorrow, Hiccup would have to go back to Berk.

But for tonight, if just for tonight, he will stay with his dragon.

Toothless studied the young hatchling's face once more with something close to tenderness in his eyes and curled up around him, dropping his head and getting ready for a long sleep. And a pleasant one as well.

As for the bullies, Gregory and Tucker, they went missing in the forest and never returned again. The people of Berk blamed it on the dragons and the wild carnivores.

Somebody should seriously add to the Dragon Manual somewhere that you don't mess with dragon riders...in front of their dragons, fog or no.

Thanks for reading, and remember, READ AND REVIEW!

~the Apprentice