It's the modern world with Hiccup leaving a peaceful life between the streets of Philadelphia with his mother and the dragon reserve in the Canadian Rockies with his father. But when a new dragon comes in, it seems as if Hiccup will have to put his pencils and paint aside for awhile… and is dragged into an adventure wilder than the pictures he creates.


How all aspects of an artwork go together.

After the quiet divorce between his parents and he and his mother moved to Philadelphia, Hiccup looked for inspiration. During the grueling battle, he had sat with narrowed eyes and watched as his parents fought over him, pencil tapping the blank page of his sketchbook. It was when they had arrived on the East Coast when he finally grabbed a hold of inspiration and held onto it with white fingers.

There was a museum of art that littered the street. It covered walls and fences, playgrounds and sidewalks. Colors or just black and white. Hiccup remembered sitting in the car, nose pressed to the window, watching as the images passed him by—names, faces, animals… and he wanted to make his own mark on this city.

Now, holding a bandana over his mouth, Hiccup shook the can of Neon green paint, hearing it click noisily back and forth before he raised it up and listened to the soft hiss as the spray coated the bricks. He couldn't help but grin slightly, ears listening for any sign of the police. After two years, he had earned a name for himself; Dragon. Each one of his pieces had held the creature in some way and now he was placing his name next to the others.

Respect and art. That's what it was all about. Stepping back, Hiccup admired his work before placing his used cans into the black duffle bag at his side. They clanked together before settling, and he turned on his heel, walking out of the alley, ripping his bandana from his face, and walked the three blocks home.

Sighing, the teen made his way past a group of Latinos, nodding respectfully as they saw the bag hooked around his shoulder. "Aye, lookie! You do anything new, Dragon boy?" The tallest one said, his voice mocking and sounded as if his nose was clogged, his dark eyes catching sight of the Florida Gator on the side of the duffle.

Hiccup pointed over his shoulder and continued to walk, climbing easily up the fire escape to the worn and burnt-along-the-edges apartment building. It had been covered a long time ago with paint of all different colors, but the redhead could've cared less; why should he complain about someone else's canvas? They found it, they have the rights to use it. Simple as that.

His room was dark—almost despairingly—but he changed out of his baggy hoodie and stained jeans, throwing them into the closet and hiding the bag under his bed. Easing himself down, Hiccup pulled the covers over his half naked form, eased the beanie off his head, and threw it onto the desk.

Tonight would be his last night in Philly when the summer started and his mother shipped him up North where his father ran a Dragon preserve. He made his mark on the last day of the school year, and tomorrow would branch him off in a whole different direction.

Finally, after a few minutes, he settled into a deep slumber, thoughts succumbed by images of giant flying reptiles and crackling fire.

"Hiccup? Hiccup!" Grumbling, the teen let his eyes slide open, his green gaze settling on the open blinds and darkness outside. "Oh for crying out loud—Get up!" Vaguely, he recognized his mother's voice.

Groaning, Hiccup forced himself upward. "Yeah, yeah… getting there…"

"Good. Your bags are already in the car—" Except for one, he added on silently, thinking about the one under his bed. "And you better eat breakfast before you get there, so we're stopping by Yolonda's place."

He perked up at that. Yolanda was the lady downstairs who owned a Mexican restaurant that, Hiccup swore, was the best food he'd ever had in his life. Sliding on a fresh t-shirt (green, like always) and a newer set of jeans, he pulled out his gator duffle from under the bed and made his way out to the kitchen where his mother, Valhallamara, was waiting albeit impatiently. He flashed her a crooked grin before turning out the door, shoes already on his feet. Rolling her eyes, but smiling, the woman followed him, locking the door behind them.

"She said… there," Hiccup followed her finger to where a paper bag was sitting by their neighbor's door. Grinning, he picked it up and slid it into his jacket pocket. They were still slightly warm from when Yolanda had made them earlier. Silently, they piled into the cold car, the teen feeling the chill from the leather seats seeping up into his body. "You ready?"

Smiling, Hiccup turned to his mother and nodded, watching out of the corner of his eye as the sidewalk slowly began to pick up speed until it had turned into a blur of golden orange from the light of the streetlamps.

It was goodbye to the city of street art… for the moment.

Stoick Haddock frowned, his red hair messy and straggling. His son would be at the airport in an hour and they still couldn't get the Monstrous Nightmare back into the enclosure. He was about centimeters away from reaching for a tranquilizing gun before the dragon moved back, snorting and roaring, but allowing the group of people to guide it back.

Grunting in exhaustion, Stoick rubbed his large hand across his face, turning to find Gobber in the mess of colleagues. His employees respectfully moved out of the way, rushing back and forth to treat none-too-serious burns. Eventually he found Gobber, strictly telling off two blonde twins before sending them on their way.

"Well, I'm off."

Gobber frowned, looking over the man. "Going to go get the bucket of trouble?"

Laughing heartily, Stoick clapped his best friend on the shoulder. "Indeed. I hope you're ready for him."

"Ready for Hiccup? Sure; I'll make sure nothing sharp or pointy is in his general direction." Twirling his blonde mustache around his fingers for a moment, Gobber watched him go before sighing, looking over the five new trainees.

Time to get back to work.

Stoick nodded to Spitelout (whose son was clambering around somewhere) and headed back to the main building where his large heavy duty Ford was parked. The vehicle had a trailer attached to the back of it, illusioned for horses whenever an injured dragon was herded inside. Sliding the key into the ignition, the large man quickly pulled out, the gravel road grumbling under his large tires. He had to drop the trailer off at the house before going to the airport, but it would only take a few minutes of his time; he didn't live all that far from the reserve.

Sighing, one large hand gripping the wheel, Stoick weaved around the empty curves not noticing when the rough gravel became a chipped asphalt. His son had gone to live with his mother for more than half the year, and him with the last three months. Because they lived so far from each other, Stoick had never watched his boy grow and the letters he received from his ex-wife had only been on how she was guiding him. But last year… last year the boy was distant. He had hardly spoken and vanished on one or more occasion. When asking one of the magicians still living in Pennsylvania, she told him that the boy would do that at home, too, and no one—not even the more questionable groups of people—knew where he went.

Stoick turned onto the long rode leading up to his home, rolling the windows up to keep the dust out. Aspens and spruces surrounded the car, creating a vibrant shade of blues, greens, white, and brown. The redhead grunted when he finally reached his home, backing up and getting out of the truck (not daring to leave the door open, incase some small hitchhiker decided to get it) and quickly began the process of unlatching the trailer. As he wound the support wheel down upon the dirty chunk of wood under it, he imagined what his son would look like this year.

He had always been scrawny, even as a baby, and being born a few weeks early hadn't helped all that much. Sighing, the burly man made sure that the trailer wouldn't be moving any time soon, sticking two planks before the wheels, before climbing into his vehicle once more. The truck rumbled to a start before making its way down the dirt road once again.

Hiccup scowled. His dad was late—again. Sighing, the teen settled down on one of his suitcases, waving off the six employees at the airport once again. "He'll be here soon, don't worry." He had said simply, knowing it was true. Stoick always, always, got the time wrong. Flicking open his worn and cracked cell phone, the redhead stood, hearing his knees crack painfully with a sharp wince.

His green eyes moved over the empty street, watching for a familiar blue truck. He couldn't see it. Grumbling, Hiccup was just about to call Gobber when his phone rang; a trademark wolf howl that accompanied his father. Sighing, the teen pressed it to his ear. "Yes?"

"Hey Hiccup, how was your flight?"

"Tiring, boring, cramped." Small planes were always like that, he didn't mind so much, it was the waiting afterwards when he could be eating something that made his teeth grind. "Where are you?"

There was a sigh and Hiccup steeled himself. "Just a minute away." Large, green eyes blinked in astonishment; normally when his father called him, Gobber would have to come and pick him up due to some urgent business at the reserve. "I'm turning onto the street right now."

Sure enough, the large Ford was rumbling towards him, a very familiar figure in the driver's side. Smirking, Hiccup waved happily and snapped his phone shut within the same motion. He drew the duffle onto his shoulder even as his father stopped, climbing out of the vehicle. Grunting, the burly man lifted the other luggage, placing them on the small carpet of pine needles in the bed of the truck.

The duffle bag followed him into the car, placed gently into the back seat. Sighing, Hiccup leaned against the leather seats, his lips quirking upwards into a smile as his body relaxed. As the Ford grumbled to life, he found himself drawn off into a peaceful slumber.

Ah, yes, a new story. For those who've read chapter 19 in A Picture is worth a Thousand Words, yes, this is the longer version. Sort of. Five people said they liked the idea, so I lengthened it, made it pretty, and slapped it up.

Funny how all my stories end up sounding like a package of meat.

By the way, I do not live in Philadelphia. If there's something you don't like about that part, I'm sorry, and I'll try to change it to your demands. I live in Colorful Colorado where the weather is almost as strange as the people (must be the altitude).

As always; review and comment if you liked or disliked. I'm a big girl, I can take criticism.

Happy Reading!