Author's note: Hi everyone! So...this is a first. I'm actually writing a fic for a different fandom than Atlantis. I know some people thought it'd never happen!
Well, if you have stumbled upon this page, it probably means you saw HTTYD and loved it as much as I did. I've always said that dragons rock! Anyway, I've read some really good stories so far, and I hope mine will not be a complete disappointment. If it is, sorry. If it isn't, cool! Oh, and I originally planned to make it a one-shot, but decided it would work better as a two-shots instead. =D
Mel, I hope you will like this story, since you asked for it in the first place!
For those who do not know about it: I'm French (well, half-French, half-German), so please excuse the remaining mistakes and/or typos that might remain in the text, for English isn't my native language! I have offered to correct and help people with French whenever they needed it, so feel free to do the same with me!
I, of course, do not own HTTYD (and I'm boring: I support canon pairings). All rights reserved to C. Crowell and Dreamworks.
And now, without further ado, enjoy your reading! Any review is appreciated and welcome! Thank you all!
Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III felt drops of sweat travelling down his face. The combination of the heat of the fire and the concentration he needed when working at the forge made his now damp hair stick on his forehead. The blacksmith apprentice could not remember the last time Gobber and he had had that much work to deal with, no matter how hard he tried. Together, they had to handle the ever-increasing demands of all Vikings in Berk who had befriended a dragon of their own and needed custom-made saddles, complete riding gears – depending on their respective dragons' breed and the riders themselves - and all the material that was considered necessary for dragon-training. Repairs were often needed, and on top of that, well, Vikings remained Vikings and still wanted their weapons, shields and armours to be taken care of.
Hiccup even had had to make himself a particularly strict schedule in order to satisfy as many people as possible and be able to see the tasks he had been given through.
First of all, there was Toothless, and woe betides him who asked Hiccup to forget about his magnificent winged friend! Of course, taking care of the Night Fury and spending time with him was much, much more a pleasure than a chore for Hiccup. The moments the both of them shared together on a daily basis were priceless and had become essential, even vital, for the two friends.
Second, the newest – and somewhat unlikely - hero of Berk had to supervise the training of each and every dragon/dragon rider, which proved to be much more difficult than he had first thought it would be. Fortunately, Toothless and Astrid always stood by his side whenever someone thought it smart to ignore Hiccup's warnings and act on impulse. After several notorious incidents that resulted in burned beards or painful bruises due to the handle of a double blades axe – depending on who had reacted first, whether it was the Night Fury or the female blonde-haired Viking – Hiccup had finally succeeded in getting everyone's complete and undivided attention.
Third, there was the forge, of course. It still took a great deal of Hiccup's time, but he did not mind anymore. At least, not as much as he did before he met Toothless and his fate. In regards to Toothless, the Night Fury loved the forge more than any other place in Berk, except maybe the house where all the fishes were stored. The black dragon had taken a liking to the forge immediately. It was warm, his human was nearby, and he could help both blacksmith and blacksmith apprentice whenever they needed more fire. Since Hiccup had finally won the respect and recognition of Berk's inhabitants, and most importantly of his father, he had found out he actually liked the forge more than he would have thought in the first place. True, Gobber the Belch was one grumbler of a Viking, and he was as bold when talking as he was when fighting, but he had been Hiccup's mentor – and a bit of a father since Stoick the Vast wasn't really available until quite recently - for as long as the young man could remember. Gobber had also been one of the rare Vikings in Berk who had shown what could be called affection for the only son of the chief, and the latter was infinitely grateful for that. Now that he was crippled, Hiccup could even more relate to Gobber and vice-versa, and so the relationship between the old blacksmith, seasoned warrior and his apprentice had taken onto a deeper level.
Furthermore, now that the war between Vikings and dragons was over -at least in Berk- there was no need for entire generations of warriors anymore. Well, there was, since the words 'Viking' and 'warrior' went together, but a good blacksmith would always be needed, and that suited Hiccup just fine. Thanks to his crazy idea of taming a Night Fury, the rarest of all dragons, Hiccup would always have a special status within the Viking community, possibly forever and ever. He had become a warrior of the skies, had proven his skills as a strategist, and he did not wish to have it any other way. He would fight from above if there was no other choice, but otherwise preferred to take care of the others' blades, and imagine suitable plans and inventions. After all, the legendary Sigurd himself had had his sword Gram fixed and reforged by Regin. A skilled blacksmith could be the key that opened a myth.
Sighing out of relief after he wiped his forehead clean, Hiccup allowed his hands to rest on his hips as he took a moment to admire the sword he had just pulled out of the bucket of water. The blade was indeed elegant, remarkably light, about twenty-eight inches long, keen and highly-sharpened. It wasn't straight like most swords Hiccup had to deal with. This time, the blacksmith apprentice had chosen to create a double-edged, pattern welded blade whose harmonious curves made it look more beautiful, more graceful than the usual weapons Vikings used. Hiccup peered at the fuller he had ornamented with careful carvings that represented intertwined dragons and flames. The fuller lightened the blade without reducing its strength whilst it increased its flexibility. Satisfied with what he saw, Hiccup began to examine the sword's hilt. About ten inches long, it was richly decorated with intricate carvings that made one think of the endless waves the ocean unleashed repeatedly on its patient shores. Although these designs were mostly meant to enhance the sword's deadly beauty, they also made sure the hand that would grasp the grip would not let it slip away easily. Finally, the teenage Viking took a closer look at the pommel. It sported a small golden sphere that glowed brightly and which Hiccup had designed to represent the rising sun. All around the pommel were carved runes that indicated the sword's name for everyone to see: Dagmar. 'The one that shines like the light of day'.
Hiccup let an extremely proud smile creep on his tired face. He had worked almost all night long, but it had definitely been worth it: Dagmar was one of his masterpieces, and he sincerely hoped that the one Viking the sword had been created for would agree with him. Slowly, Hiccup put Dagmar down alongside its equally beautiful scabbard, and turned towards Toothless who was sleeping soundly near the raging fire of the forge. The Night Fury made funny sounds that seemed to be an odd mix between purrs and yelps, indicating the magnificent beast was dreaming. Hiccup, however, had been unable to sleep because of the pain that had seemed to wolf down what little was left of his leg, and that was why he had decided to get up and spend the night at the forge despite the snowstorm that had begun to take its toll on Berk for a couple of days already. Snow, night, forge. Three words that made sure Hiccup was alone there and then.
It was the strangest thing, really. Hiccup had spent days, weeks, months, entire years craving for a little bit of attention, hoping for just one look from his father that would express pride and affection rather than disappointment and ignorance... and now that he was surrounded by an aura of unfading glory, he just couldn't bear it. Sure, he was glad that people finally started to accept him for who he was, but the newfound fame that followed him like his very shadow everywhere he went in Berk was a bit too much for him. Years of loneliness did not vanish in thin air just like that. To be completely honest, Hiccup was nothing but embarrassed by the whole ordeal. After all, it was Toothless who had done most of the work during the battle with the Green Death. It was Toothless who had flown fast enough to escape the gigantic jaws of the Dragon Queen. It was Toothless who had delivered the coup de grace. And it was Toothless who had saved him. He had only been the rider who had a plan. That was all. That was, at least, what Hiccup told himself day after day. Then, of course, was the problem of his missing limb.
It had been a few weeks since the battle with the Green Death, and even after the initial shock had faded, Hiccup had not succeeded in getting completely used to his prosthetic leg. Quite frankly, he did not know if he ever would. After a certain number – Hiccup just didn't want to remember how many – of fruitless and painful tries, he had eventually managed to find some sort of satisfactory balance between his prosthetic leg and his valid one. The pain that made him wince and cringe every now and then, he could deal with it. However, he sincerely doubted he would ever get used either to the unmistakable sound his metal foot made on the ground or to the fact that he had to wake up every morning to see one full leg on one side and just a stump of a leg on the other. Not to mention the odd footprints he left behind him when it rained, hailed or snowed. Hiccup utterly hated those.
The young Viking's thoughts were brutally shattered as a familiar, powerful voice resounded in the winter dawn.
"Mornin', Hiccup! Stayed here all night long again, didn't you?"
Gobber the Belch emerged from the snowstorm and into the forge, giving his apprentice a warm, yet reproachful look. Falling back into their old routine, Gobber threw his fur coat away, only to have Hiccup catch it for him. The boy only smiled in reply.
"Don't tell me you couldn't sleep because of my handiwork again...", the old blacksmith remarked while gesturing to Hiccup's prosthetic leg.
"Nah, don't worry about it. I just needed to...you know, get some fresh air."
"Fresh air? At the forge?"
"Ya know, lad, Stoick was never good at lying either."
Hiccup's jaw dropped open.
"Aye. When he was your age, your father tried several times to lie to his own father and he failed quite miserably. Your grandfather said the lie was written in Stoick's eyes. It only made things worse, for Stoick started to look down whenever he lied. But I never told you that."
Hiccup grinned. "Of course. Say, Gobber..."
"How did you...you know...deal with it?"
"You mean, my leg?"
"I won't lie to you lad, it wasn't easy. Took me a lot of time, and I have to say, you're doin' better than I did. You'll get over it too, with time. And one day, you'll tell the story to your children, and when you see their gaping mouths you may even think that it was the best thing that ever happened to you. Now, can you get that dragon of yours out of the way, I've got work to do, for Odin's sake!"
Hiccup smiled at Gobber's sudden outburst, watched as the old Viking began to pick up his tools all around the forge, and decided it was probably for the best to carry out his orders to the letter. Turning round to face to face the sleeping dragon, Hiccup gently stroked the smooth scales in a quiet attempt to awaken his winged friend.
"Hey, buddy, time to wake up!"
Toothless groaned unhappily, refusing to quit his slumber. Hiccup, more amused than annoyed, crossed his arms as his lips curved into a sly smirk.
"Talk about a mighty Night Fury. You should be called a Night Lazy, I hope you know that. Come on", Hiccup emphasized by trying to pull Toothless with all his admittedly un-Viking strength, "you big lizard, the sun is rising! We need to get to the Hoffersons' to deliver Dagmar!"
Toothless opened half a lid, one green eye scanning the forge to take a quick look at the sword that was still resting alongside its scabbard. The dragon made a sound that the young Viking could only define as a snort and closed his eyes once again, ignoring his human's protests.
"Okay, since you put it this way...Gobber, I'm going out.", Hiccup announced as he picked Dagmar up and put it into its scabbard before starting to walk away.
"Aye. And don't bother coming back here; you've been under my feet enough for today!"
"Understood! Oh and, Gobber?"
Hiccup let out a deep breath as he felt the freezing air all round him, and tightened his grip on his fur coat. He had barely made a few steps when an angry shout made him wonder if his eardrum had just been damaged.
"HICCUP! YOUR DRAGON IS STILL HERE!!!"
"Oh, gods! Sorry, Gobber!" The boy cleared his throat a couple of times before calling out. "By Thor's Hammer, Toothless, that's it! Forget salmon, you're getting smoked eels for breakfast!!"
The Night Fury's head immediately jerked upwards, big green eyes horrified at the very idea of it, and the dragon rushed outside, letting a loud roar in both protest and apology. Hiccup laughed openly as Toothless bounced in front of him, only to find himself locked into a tight hug, stuck between two raven black paws that could easily break his bones as if he were a twig. Toothless purred, and Hiccup smiled in defeat, wrapping his arms as best as he could around the scaly neck of his friend.
"Yeah, I love you too, buddy. Forget smoked eels, I'll find you some salmon. But I really need to deliver Dagmar first. You think Astrid will like it?"
Toothless released his rider and put him down with a series of nods, watching carefully as the boy struggled to find his balance. The dragon whined quietly as he looked down at Hiccup's prosthetic leg, a pang of guilt showing into his big, expressive eyes, but Hiccup did not see it. Together, boy and dragon went across the village of Berk to reach their first destination.