How to Be Your Dragon
Chapter One: The Magic of Surprise
Note: I do not own How to Train Your Dragon nor any related copyrights such as Hiccup, Toothless, Berk, Astrid, and other such related characters and places.
Brilliant sunbeams slanted through the thick foliage of the forest as Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III blinked his sleepy eyes open.
Hiccup looked around at the familiar valley. A pond took up most of the space and nearly vertical cliffs surrounded the perimeter. It was the worst place to find yourself, if you were unable to fly, of course, and Hiccup knew all about that.
It was only a year ago that he had managed to bring down a legendary Night Fury, a supposedly undefeatable dragon, with a device of his own creation, slicing off one of its tail wings. However, instead of finishing it off, he befriended the creature, and their friendship has led them on many "enjoyable" adventures.
Hiccup smiled and turned to his right to face the massive Night Fury lying next to him, Toothless. An ironic name, indeed, but it was a name that managed to stick. Toothless started to stir and lifted its head off the ground.
"Heya Toothless." Hiccup said, greeting his draconic friend in his typical nasally voice. Toothless purred and turned to face Hiccup.
Suddenly Toothless froze; his eyes widened and his ears perked up. Moments later, Toothless had rapidly risen up and stumbled away from Hiccup, a look of stunned surprise across its black face.
"Toothless, what's the matter bud… woah!" Hiccup tried to ask while getting up himself, only to find himself sprawled face-first on the ground. His limbs felt leaden, his shoulders ached, and his back…
Hiccup's head picked up as soon as his mind turned to his back. Some strange appendage was now connected to his back, two in fact. His entire body felt as though it was pulled out and rearranged. And why did he have the intense craving for raw fish?
Hiccup tried to lever himself up by his arms, only to find himself now being supported by twin black stumps, stumps that looked oddly familiar.
He wiggled his fingers; small protrusions from the stump wiggled too.
"Huh?" Hiccup asked out loud, pushing himself up. Finally it got through his head that his arms had been turned into the front paws of a black dragon. Hiccup turned around wildly, trying to examine the rest of himself. Sure enough, leathery wings protruded from his back, a sleek tail protruded from his backside, and his entire body was covered in obsidian scales.
"Okay…" Hiccup said, his heart pounding in his chest, "this… this isn't… ah… this isn't normal."
With a scuffle and a leap, Hiccup managed to pull himself to the edge of the pool of water.
Sure enough, Toothless' large yellow eyes gleamed back at him.
He wasn't exactly like Toothless; he was skinner, his limbs were longer, and his face was squatter than that of his dragon friend. Still, he could not deny that somehow, by some force of nature, he had been turned into a Night Fury.
"How…?" Hiccup began to ask himself before being interrupted by the iconic shriek of a Night Fury. Hiccup looked at Toothless who was, in turn, looking at the forest above, the source of the screech.
"HICCUP!" A familiar voice bellowed as a massive black figure tore through the trees, coming to a stop right at the edge of the valley. Hiccup gazed in mute shock at yet another Night Fury, though with a slimmer face and more pronounced ears.
The new Night Fury gasped for breath, its eyes wide open as it scanned the valley. Finally, its eyes landed on Hiccup and it incredulously asked, "Hiccup? Is that you?"
Hiccup nearly choked on hearing the familiar voice coming out of a dragon. "Astrid? Is that you? But… how… what happened?"
With an angry scowl, the Astrid-Fury replied, "Why don't you ask him?" and turned her tail to view.
Clutching to the tip of the tail for dear life was the newest visitor to the village, his crystal spectacles askew, leaves and dirt in his thick white hair. The bizarre man gasped for breath, wheezing, "Gabblefreglit… ipretervig… zbbledor… agafault… whoosh!"
After taking a deep breath and gulping, he finally managed to squeak his first coherent sentence: "Please don't kill me."
24 Hours earlier
Berk, the town located on the Meridian of Misery, just a few degrees south of Freezing to Death, was happily going about its business. In no other place in the world was there anything like Berk, the town that coexisted with dragons.
Now, Vikings are not at all the first thing that comes into anyone's head when being told of such a town, but yes, the most famous dragon hunters now lived side-by-side with their once mortal enemies. Sure there were scuffles and mishaps, but everything was kept in a state of order by one little Viking…
"Hiccup!" Gobber called from his forge.
The Viking lad stumbled over to the forge, quick on his feet (or foot and prosthetic), having just stepped outside to a beautiful sunrise. "Morning Gobber!' Hiccup replied, hobbling over to support himself on one of the posts that held up the forge. "So, how can I help?"
"Hiccup, I hate to bother you," Gobber replied, picking up a piece of paper from the table in front of him, "but I'm having trouble making this saddle for Lurchox. His Nadder accidentally ate it while he was going out for some fish, and I suppose he needs a new one. But I can't make, heads or tails out of these blueprints of yours, Hiccup." He handed over the sketches to the industrious Viking.
"Um… Gobber?" Hiccup asked.
Hiccup turned the paper right side up and handed it back to the smith. "Oh… thanks Hiccup. I was wondering why all the words looked funny…"
"Morning, Hiccup!" Another voice called out from behind him. Turning around, he faced the single Viking he liked most on this island: Astrid.
"Morning, Astrid." Hiccup happily replied as the blond-headed Viking girl walked up to him. "Good day isn't it?"
"Yeah, me and Battleaxe are going out for a ride today, you and Toothless wanna join us?"
"Well…" Hiccup replied, knowing Astrid's Nadder, "seeing as I have nothing much to do today except help Gobber in the forge…"
"No, no Hiccup," Gobber interjected, having his hand in a dismissive fashion, "You go off and have fun. I can handle myself here. Now, I wonder what this thingy does…"
"I guess I'm free today, then." Hiccup finished happily. "Now all we have to do is find…"
"Night Fury!" A Viking called out, as a large black figure rounded the corner of the street and bounded towards Hiccup. Leaping over a pack of Terrible Terrors and through a group of Vikings trying to keep aforementioned Terrors under control, Toothless landed next to Hiccup, giving him a long, wet, lick.
"And that saves us a bunch of trouble!" Hiccup laughed as he tried to push Toothless down. "Hey buddy, what do you say we go flying with Astrid and Battleaxe, huh?"
Toothless purred contently and rubbed up alongside Hiccup who started rubbing under his chin. "I'll take that as a yes." Astrid said laughing.
Eventually the great dragon turned to his side to allow Hiccup easy access to the saddle on his back. Hiccup grabbed onto the saddle and called back to Astrid, "You go find Battleaxe, we'll go ahead tooyyaaAAHHH!" Hiccup yelled as suddenly Toothless took off running through the streets, leaving Hiccup face-down in a puddle outside the forge.
"Toothless! Where are you going?" Astrid called after the Night Fury as it ran through the streets, pushing aside obstacles as it ran into the forest adjacent to the town. "Where's Toothless going, Hiccup?"
"Um Astrid…" Hiccup replied to the ground, "Maybe I could see if…"
"Oh, right!" Astrid cried, suddenly noticing Hiccup's plight, and lifted Hiccup out of the puddle and steadied him on his prosthetic leg.
"Thank you, Astrid." Hiccup thanked the Viking lass and looked off to see Toothless running into the deeper parts of the forest. "He's never done anything like this before, not at all."
"Need any help?" Astrid asked, her arm around Hiccup's shoulder.
"No, I think I can find him." Hiccup responded and took a step forward.
"Of course," he said, changing his mind after finding himself in the puddle yet again, "Maybe it'd be easier if I had some help…"
On the back of Battleaxe, Hiccup and Astrid soared through the clouds over Berk. The forest beneath them stretched for what seemed like an eternity. The Nadder silently flew across the island as Hiccup and Astrid called for Toothless.
"Where could he have gotten to?" Hiccup thought aloud.
"I don't know." Astrid responded for the third time. "Hiccup, I why are you so worried about him? He can take care of himself."
"I know, it's just…" Hiccup trailed off as he gazed into the horizon.
"What?" Astrid pressed.
"I'm afraid something will happen to him." Hiccup finished. "I'm afraid… someone will hurt him."
Astrid was silent for a few minutes. "Someone…" Astrid slowly said, as if comprehending an impossible thought, "…hurt… Toothless… the Night Fury… we're talking about the same Toothless here, right?"
"I know," Hiccup muttered, "but I really think something bad can happen."
A moment later, he felt Astrid punch him in the arm, hard.
"That," Astrid bluntly said, "was for being an idiot."
"Well you didn't have to punch me so…" Hiccup trailed off as Astrid kissed him. His blinked several times as she backed away.
"And that," Astrid said softly, "was for caring for him."
"Right…" Hiccup said, turning back to the forest in order to hide the blush that was creeping across his cheeks, "I'll never get used to that."
Astrid smirked but only for a second as suddenly her Nadder froze in mid-air, sending both of its passengers into each other. The Nadder's head darted left to right furiously, as if it sensed some vile presence nearby.
"What's the matter Battleaxe?" Astrid asked her dragon, rubbing the Nadder where its jaw connected with the neck.
They were soon distracted by the unmistakable shriek of a Night Fury, followed closely by an undeniably human scream. "I think we found him." Hiccup said, his eyes widening in fear. Astrid urged the Nadder into a dive and they pushed into the forest.
Breaking the upper layer of foliage, the two Vikings and dragon found themselves over a familiar valley: Toothless' unofficial "lair." The aforementioned black monster was standing over and growling at a thin figure sprawled on the ground.
Descending further, Astird and Hiccup were able to make out the figure underneath saying something along the lines of, "Please don't kill me. Please don't kill me. I want to live, I have so much life ahead of me. I don't wanna die."
"Toothless!" Hiccup cried out, trying to hop off of Battleaxe as soon as she landed. Looking up from his captive, Toothless spotted Hiccup and immediately rushed to his side. Wrapping around Hiccup's body, Toothless glared at the figure that was finally getting to its feet.
Hiccup had never seen this man before, nor anyone like him. He was taller than Hiccup, but just as scrawny. His thick white hair was tangled and frayed, not to mention covered by dirt and leaves. Two terrified blue eyes stared out from behind a pair of crystals joined together by twine and sticks. A thick woolen coat covered his thin body, exaggerating his thin head. A heavy knapsack hung around his shoulders and bulged with an innumerable amount of unidentifiable materials. Overall, the man gave the impression of looking at a walking coat rack.
Gasping for breath, the man slowly reached down for a hatchet that had fallen at his side. No sooner had he begun to reach then Toothless growled and pushed forwards somewhat. With great fear in his voice, the man kicked aside the hatchet, saying, "Okay! No hatchet, nooooooo hatchet. Gotcha: hatchet bad, baaaaad hatchet. See… hatchet's gone… please don't kill me."
"He… ah… won't kill you." Hiccup said anxiously, trying to reassure the panicking man.
Finally looking at Hiccup, the man replied, "Well, begging your pardon, but I really don't think I can take your word for that." A barking growl erupted from Toothless' mouth, causing the man to throw up his arms and say, "You know what, why not; I'll believe you."
"It's okay Toothless." Hiccup reassured the black dragon, scratching under his chin, "He doesn't look dangerous, I don't think he'll harm you, or me." Hiccup added as an afterthought. Toothless quieted down, but still remained close to his Viking friend.
"Toothless, huh?" The man said, trying in vain to start some pleasant conversation. "Nice name, quite ironic."
Astrid took three strides to the man, pulling out her own massive axe. "Okay, who are you and what are you doing here?"
"Ah yes, out of the frying pan and into the fire." The man said, keeping his hands high above his head, "Of course. Um… it's very hard to think with a weapon in my face… er… Viking girl."
"Astrid." Hiccup corrected him, stepping forward. "And I have to say, I've never seen someone like you before."
"Well, may I say that I've never seen a Viking as scrawny as you before." This elicited a low growl from Toothless and a jab from Astrid. "But furthermore, my eccentric appearance is possibly of great concern to you." Collecting his courage, the man waved his hands mysteriously. "I happen to be… a wizard!"
Astrid and Hiccup were silent. Toothless appeared to scoff.
"Okay, so I'm training, big deal." The man said, shrugging. He held his hand out past Astrid to Hiccup. "The name's Merlin, what's yours?"
"Hiccup." The Viking responded, regretting 24 hours later his decision to shake the wizard's hand.