Wanted to write something about how the dragons feel about the dragon decorations in the village...instead wrote this. Funny how my mind works.

Disclaimer: I do not, nor I am likely to ever, own How to Train Your Dragon, as much as I might wish otherwise.

Staking a Claim

Hiccup had known going in that it wasn't going to be easy. Vikings and dragons had been fighting as either side could remember. There wasn't a tapestry in the village that didn't depict the death of dragons, who in turn kept in packs with one eye open at night in case the humans changed their minds.

However, as bad as the human/dragon interactions might be, he had at least expected the dragon/dragon relationships to be no problem.

Trying to haul a snarling and hissing Night Fury from the agitated Nightmare in the training grounds, Hiccup cursed his naivety.

Apparently, defeating the head dragon had done more than just elevate him among the village. It had also made him much sought after goods among dragons. While most seemed content to find a rider within the Vikings in the village, there were some that believed the Night Fury had the only one worth having. And had no qualms about trying to stake a claim.

Whenever Toothless was distracted, they were on him. Gronkle's, Nadders...the odd Zippleback though they seemed more interested in two riders, even the Terrors used him as a landing pad when they got the chance.

But the most determined were the Nightmares. There were at least 4 that seemed determined to get Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third's saddle on their back, and were willing to come to blows with Toothless over it. Toothless of course, came at this problem with the same fury he had in a raid of old. Hiccup was HIS, and woe betide any dragon that was stupid enough to think otherwise.

Hiccup had quickly learned that he flew Toothless, or no dragon at all. He'd gone for a ride with Astrid on her Nadder one afternoon, and the entire flock had been insufferable for days. Preening double time, and giving that snide burp-like cackle whenever another dragon walked past. The next time Astrid offered, Hiccup had realised the sense in saying no.

This time the teen had been trying out different saddles on the Nightmares when Toothless had wandered off, chasing the smell of lunch. The Nightmare in question, large with a blood red skin, had waited until the saddle was fitted before nuzzling Hiccup. When the Viking had returned with a soft scratching, jaws snapped open and Hiccup's sleeve had lifted him clean off the ground and onto the dragon's back. The Nightmare had refused to let go, instead pushing him back towards his spikes, forcing Hiccup to keep his hands on the beasts snout. Wings had spread out, and the dragon had made to fly off, knowing the teen wouldn't let go once they were in the air, when Toothless had returned.

Whether it was the fact that Hiccup was clearly there against his will, or just the fact that he was on another dragon, Toothless saw red. Hiccup had just enough time once the Nightmare had let go to jump off, wincing as his prosthetic hit the ground at a bad angle, and roll away before several tons of Night Fury descended on the Nightmare to re enact his graduation exam.

Once they broke apart, Hiccup had bolted for Toothless's side, keeping his hands on the saddle in a vain attempt to keep the dragon back. Toothless hissed again, lunging for the Nightmare, only to have Hiccup get in his way, leaving the dragon reluctant to use his full strength. Even if he could easily get past, the boy could be dragged into the fray. The Nightmare seemed to realise it too, and backed off, giving Hiccup a chance to relax.

"Okay, let's take a break. Deep breaths buddy."

Toothless growled, but allowed Hiccup to pull him away, tensing as he heard the Nightmare growl back. Hiccup didn't give him a chance to react anymore, scratching behind the Night Fury's ear with the hand not on the harness.

"Easy buddy. He's not threat, you know that."

Toothless's eyes were still sliding to one side, wanting to look back, but they'd at least widened out of their angry slits, and Hiccup breathed a sigh of relief as the two walked out of the training grounds.

His dragon's bad mood didn't improve once they entered the village. The Training Grounds was a temporary nest for many dragons, and their fire and general heat had resulted in the area being fairly dry. The rest of the village was not as fortunate, with heavy snow showers the constant for the season. It also meant none of the dragons had any real desire to fly, no more eager to jump into it than they were the rain. Except for the Nadders – the Nadders were flying off in groups, gone until the sun began to set – the dragons were huddling up together in their new stables for warmth, sometimes sleeping on the old torches.


Hiccup smiled as Astrid flew in, her Nadder's wings blowing ice winds into the two, resulting in a whine from Toothless. The Nadder cackled, and the Night Fury tensed again, only to cackle himself when Astrid cuffed the back of its neck.

"You, behave."

Hiccup smiled as she dismounted, while Toothless stared the Nadder down, though without any real ire. The other teens dragons had never been among the usurpers – as fond as they were of Hiccup, they were fonder of the riders that had helped them defeat the Green Death. Despite this, Hiccup was rather surprised to find Toothless leaving his side, giving Hiccup a sidelong glance before running through the snow, heading back towards the house. Hiccup called after him, genuinely confused.


"What's with him?"

Hiccup shrugged and turned to his 'sort-of-kinda' girlfriend. "Not really sure. He just attacked a Nightmare over me, and now he's running off."

Astrid raised an eyebrow. "A Nightmare? Again?"

Hiccup nodded. "Ye-up. Nearly flew off with me this time."

Astrid's own eyes began to follow the Fury's vanishing form. "Huh, he normally doesn't let you out of his sight after one of those showdowns."

"Hence the confusion" Hiccup finished, and jumped slightly when Astrid seemed to fall into him. Moments later the act was explained by her Nadder pushing him into her, and flopping its large head onto both of their shoulders. Astrid glared up of the head, though it quickly became a smile.

"All right! We get it. Scratches for Vain."

Her hand brushed up against the bottom scales, mindful to avoid under the chin, and Hiccup joined her.

"Still can't believe you chose 'Vain'" he mused, and Astrid smirked.

"At least mine's accurate, 'Toothless.'"

Satisfied with the scritchings, Vain lifted his head, and the two headed into the village.

"Kind of surprised you were flying today" Hiccup began, secretly grateful for the presence of the Nadder. Although he was fairly certain Astrid and himself were now a 'couple' of some form, he really wasn't too sure how to act around her. Dragons at least, gave him something to talk about without screwing it up.

Astrid rolled her eyes. "Are you kidding? There's a sheet of clear ice a mile wide just a few minutes flying from here. It's the biggest mirror in Berk, and he'"

She jerked her head in Vain's direction, "was only willing to leave once he got hungry. A lot of the Nadders are going there."

Oh, that's why the Nadders were still flying. He really should have guessed that.

Astrid continued to talk about the ice mirror, and how they should just move a few chicken coops out there to keep the Nadders from losing any precious 'beauty time', and Hiccup was happy to listen. Despite being 90% sure she was joking, he wondered if he could actually find a way to do it without killing the chickens from the cold.

He was just about to suggest maybe putting some Terrors in the coop when the two heard Toothless give off a signature blast of flame, and with a quick glance to the other, both teens ran for the Haddock residence, Vain halting and jerking back, unwilling to interfere.

The two turned the corner just in time to see two Nightmares jump over the hills and back the way they had just come. Moments later Toothless jumped after them, shrieking and ready to fire again.

"Toothless!" Hiccup yelped, running up and attempting to clamp the dragon's jaws down. "No, no, no, no, no! No fire in the village!"

The Night Fury shook his head loose, but to both teen's relief, kept his mouth closed, and merely began pushing at Hiccups legs, urging him to move onwards. As the three headed for the house, Snotlout and Fishlegs ran up to them, clearly excited about something.

"Aw man you should have seen it" Snotlout gasped. "There were these two Nightmares running round your house, and then BOOM! Toothless shows up out of nowhere and whales on em."

"It was like, the greatest odds ever for the Nightmares and they still lost!" Fishlegs continued. "I can't believe Toothless can take on two on his own."

The condescending 'whuff' from Toothless gave Hiccup the impression the dragon felt he could have handled twice that without problems, but Fishlegs seemed happy enough that it didn't seem necessary to add.

"Did they damage the house?" Astrid asked, looking up the hill for any signs of damage. "Your Dad is not going to be happy if there's fire damage. Again."

Before Hiccup could even think about how to explain that to his father, Snotlout shook his head.

"No, they weren't really interested in the house, just sorta fought around it. One of the Nightmares jumped on the roof at one point, looked like it was laughing at the dragon decoration."

"The Nightmare head?" Hiccup asked, and Snotlout shrugged.

"Pretty much."

Toothless growled again, and Hiccup sighed.

"Least I don't have to explain why the house is on fire again."

The next morning found Hiccup, curled up in bed, unwilling to even think about moving. He knew he should probably be getting up, but instead curled around his blanket and gave a happy sigh in satisfaction. For the first time in weeks, he had absolutely nothing he had to do – there were plenty of saddles, all Vikings had at least a general knowledge of how to ride a dragon without falling off, the training grounds were officially un-walled...and Toothless made sure no dragon got within ten feet of him without his permission. Yeah, a good, old fashioned sleep-till-noon sounded just about rig-

"Hiccup!" Stoic yelled from outside, jerking the boy up on instinct. "Toothless is the burning down the house! Again!"

Hiccup winced, and rolled out of bed, stumbling for balance. He was going to rip Toothless's other tail fin off for this...

He pulled open the door, and yelped as splinters and ash fell from above. Outside a crowd was gathering, with Stoic in front, looking upwards with fury. Hiccup groaned and bolted out, turning to see what he already guessed he'd see.

Yup. Toothless. Sending little fireballs into the wooden Nightmare's head (ironically making it the most accurate Nightmare decoration in the village) while scratching and biting chunks off.

Almost instantly, Stoic's hand was on his shoulder, the other pointing at the Night Fury.

"What does he think he's doing?" Stoic yelled. "Get him off before the whole house goes up!"

"I don't think he wants the house Dad" Hiccup replied, still wiping sleep from his eyes. "Just the Nightmare head."

Stoic stared at him in disbelief. "It's just a wooden carving!"

Hiccup shrugged. "Of a Nightmare. It's a territory thing...I think. Wants a Fury head up there."

Both heads jerked up at the sound of cracking wood, and watched Toothless removed his mouth from the neck of the wooden head in apprehension, before the entire thing collapsed off the building. The dragon yelped, wings unfolding and jumping off before the head crashed to the ground, the impact and the flames reducing it to little more than ash. He purred and crooned, nodding at a job well done, and walked over to Hiccups side, and a slightly evil glare to any dragon watching.

Hiccup sighed and scratched behind the dragon's ears before looking up at his father.

"So, who do we see about getting a Night Fury head?"