Berk. My home. The home of my father, Stoick the Vast, our chieftain. Home of Astrid, the Viking of my dreams. And, now, home of Toothless, my dragon. There are a lot of other dragons here, too, but right now I'm worried about Toothless.
We seem to be having some... issues.
You see, Toothless hasn't quite gotten used to life in the village. He's not a "village dragon," if you will. Most dragons aren't to start with, I'll admit, but everyone else seem to be getting their dragons under control pretty easily.
I got to Toothless way before the others got their dragons. So what's the problem?
Scenario One: Toothless and I will be walking from point A to point B through the village and he'll get distracted with chasing sheep from the field.
Scenario Two: Toothless will, in fact, steal sweets from little girls like Mumbles and Lung.
Scenario Three: Toothless and my dad. Gods know that is enough said.
Like, say, now.
Here it comes. And now he's knocked down some shields. And now he's in the room.
"Hiccup, your dragon-" he starts.
"The one who saved my life?" I reply, "And the lives of pretty much everyone on this island?"
"Your dragon," Dad says a little quieter, which isn't necessarily a good thing, "keeps driving off the sheep."
"Yeah," I say. I attempt a smile but I feel like my teeth are naked. "We're working?... On that?"
Dad briefly presses the heel of his hand against the bridge of his nose. "None of the other dragons chase the sheep," he says slowly. "Why does yours?"
"He's just," I start, what is there to say? "He's just not used to this kind of life. You've got to understand: he's a Night Fury. He never stole food during raids and he was never even seen until I caught him. He's pretty much the only one of his kind here. He's just fundamentally different from the other dragons in ways we can't possibly understand."
"You've been training it a lot longer than the other dragons," Dad points out.
"That's such a great point," I reply, "But Dad you have to also realize that he can't fly on his own. So he could be acting out from being stuck on land more than the other dragons."
Dad rolls his eyes. "Don't start going on about that beast's feelings."
"Would you please call him Toothless?" I say, "You could try to make him feel more welcome."
"It stays in our home," Dad says, "It couldn't possibly be more welcome."
"You could just pet him some time. Or maybe even scratch his neck."
Dad stares at me.
"Right. Displays of affection from the Chieftain, not happening. Got it."
"The dragon doesn't need me to touch it," Dad says, "Just find out what's wrong with it and fix it."
"But I really don't know what's wrong with him, Dad."
"You're smart. This is your kind of problem. Figure something out. For the good of us all. Deal?"
I exhale deeply. "I'm not feeling much of an exchange here."
"Deal," he repeats, no longer a question.
My shoulders sag. "Deal."
"Good." He glances around. "What are you doing in here anyway? It's a bit late to be working."
"I don't know." I look around too and lift my hands. Then I drop them. "I'm just so used to coming here during my free time. It's like second nature."
"Maybe instead of coming in here, you should be taking the dragon out to fly."
"Maybe." But it's night now, and it's kind of really cold. Not that I've ever let that keep me from flying before. "So... Talk over?"
"Get on to whatever you were doing," he says, waving his hand. "I'll see you back at the house."
"Good night, Dad," I say. He turns and leaves. Something crashes onto the ground outside. When the noises stop, I know he's gone and I exhale again. What am I going to do about Toothless?
He's the only Night Fury we know of and we barely know anything about him. Even with everything I learned during Dragon Training. While I think about him, I start to doodle in my notebook and before long I've got a Night Fury on the page, with a few tweaks planned for the saddle.
Then I hear it.
A girl screaming.
Could that be Astrid? With my heart in my throat I scramble out of the room and trip over the shields on the ground. After falling on my face, I kick the shields with my peg leg and get back up and follow the sound of the screams.
"Astrid?" I call out. I move as quickly as I can through the village. Despite some practice, this isn't actually very fast.
The screams transform into words: "Give! It! Back!"
Not Astrid. I turn and hurry behind a house. "Mumbles?"
"Give it back, you stupid old dragon!"
"Mumbles and-Toothless? What are you doing out here?"
Toothless sits up on his haunches and stares at me with his big, innocent eyes. Which of course means he's not innocent at all.
Mumbles has her hands bunched up in fists as she hops around angrily. She kind of reminds me of an angry Terrible Terror. You have to admit she's got the same attitude, trying to take on Toothless when she's only a small ten-year-old.
"What is going on?" I ask.
Mumbles tugs angrily on her brown pigtails and then one hand shoots out so she can point at Toothless. "Your monster took my sugar crystal!"
"Toothless," I say.
Toothless puckers his lips and his tongue darts out. Well, at least he enjoyed it.
"Give it back!" Mumbles demands.
"Mumbles, I don't think you want it back anymore."
She leaps at me, grabs the front of my shirt and tugs me down to her level. "Make him. Give it. Back."
I stare back at her, unfazed. "Toothless," I say flatly, "Give it back."
"Come on, buddy," I urge him with no emotion.
Toothless goes down on all fours and pushes his head between Mumbles and me. Then he hacks up Mumbles's sugar crystal. Only now it's partially dissolved and comes up as a small hail of sugar bits all over Mumbles' blue shirt.
She screams again. Finally, she lets me go. Then, "Hiccup!"
"You asked for it back," I say, just as Toothless sits on his haunches again. There are a few small specks of sugar on my sleeve, so I brush them off. What I hear next makes me feel better:
"What is all of this screaming about?"
Now that's Astrid.
I open my mouth to speak, but somehow Mumbles beats me to it.
"Astriiiiid!" Mumbles wails, "Look what Hiccup and his dragon did to me!"
Astrid looks at Mumbles. Then she looks at Toothless. Then she looks at me. "What is that on your shirt?" she asks Mumbles.
"Sugar," Mumbles answers haughtily.
"Did you ask for it?" she asks Mumbles.
Mumbles stamps her foot. "Not like this!"
"But you asked for it," Astrid says.
"Maybe," Mumbles admits.
"Then they did nothing wrong," Astrid says.
"Thank you," I tell Astrid. "Mumbles, let's get you back to your house. Your mom's probably wondering about you."
Mumbles turns to go, then stops and asks, "Can I ride a dragon tomorrow?"
"You're still too young to ride," I tell her.
"Everyone else gets to ride a dragon," Mumbles says.
"Lung doesn't ride a dragon."
"Lung's only nine! I'm ten. Well, tomorrow I'll be eleven. I should get to ride a dragon."
I share a look with Astrid.
"We'll see how things go," I say, just as Astrid says:
"Wait until you're older."
I look to Astrid again.
She lifts her eyebrows in expectation.
"Hiccup said I could ride a dragon!" Mumbles says, pointing at me. "You heard him!"
"He didn't mean that," Astrid counters quickly, "He's half-insane, you can't trust what he says."
"Thank you for your support," I say to her.
"Dragon Training first," Astrid tells Mumbles, "Then dragon flying."
After we get Mumbles back to her house, Astrid leans against the closed door and crosses her arms. "Would you really let her ride a dragon?" she asks.
"She could ride with me," I reply.
"Only if she remembers to hold on." She gives Toothless a gentle punch on the ear.
Toothless nudges Astrid's side with his snout.
"So, I've been thinking," I say.
"You haven't... well. You haven't kissed me in a while."
"You haven't done anything crazy in a while," she replies easily.
"So, crazy then? That's the criterion? Good to know."
"Don't tell me you're actually planning something."
"No, no. Not yet. I've got to figure out what to do with Toothless first."
Upon hearing his name, he purrs and nudges my hand with his snout. I rub his head. His scales are cold, but I like the feeling on my palm.
"The sheep?" Astrid says.
"Yeah. That and everything else."
"You have to admit, it would be weird if people weren't always complaining about you," she says. "You've got to stick out somehow. It's kind of your thing, you know?"
"Doesn't it count that we risked our lives to save them?"
"Not everyday," she says with a smirk.
I shake my head and rub my eye with my palm. "I'll just have to work something out."
"That's also your thing," she says. "You can help him," she gestures to Toothless, "I trust you."
Astrid reaches out and I almost flinch. Instead of punching me, she touches my arm. "We all trust you, Hiccup," she whispers. Then she's so close to me, I can feel the warmth of her breath. I hold mine, but then she pulls away and I let the air out. "Good night," she says, turning to leave.
"Good night," I say.
I look at Toothless, who is staring right back at me with a blank expression. "Let's go home," I tell him. "I'll think about this more tomorrow."
Toothless grunts and drops down on the ground, blocking my way.
"Hey-Toothless, come on." I start to go around him, but he crawls up and puts himself in my path again. "Toothless."
He lifts his hind quarters and pushes himself forward yet again.
"Fine." I push myself up onto his back and straddle him. "Happy now?"
He looks back at me and nods before he darts through the village.
On the way back to the house, we pass Ruffnut and Tuffnut struggling with their Zippleback. Ruffnut is chasing down its heads as they swing around to avoid her. Meanwhile, Tuffnut is standing at the base of its necks and holding up two chicken legs.
"Idiot, it doesn't want the bones!" Ruffnut yells at Tuffnut.
"It always eats the bones," Tuffnut says, "It swallows these things whole."
"I told you, you have to mash it up first," Ruffnut insists. "Oh, hey Hiccup."
"Hiccup," Tuffnut says to me.
"Toothless, stop a sec," I say. Toothless comes to a halt. "Are you guys having trouble feeding your dragon?"
"Trouble?" Tuffnut says, "No. Someone just doesn't know what it likes to eat."
"It doesn't want the stupid bones," Ruffnut says harshly.
"I know how to take care of my own dragon!" Tuffnut replies, charging at her.
"It's not your dragon, it's my dragon!" Ruffnut says, charging right back at him.
They both growl as their heads bump up against each other.
"We'll just leave you two alone," I say. I pat Toothless and whisper, "Let's go."
We hurry off to the house. When we return, Dad is already upstairs in his room doing whatever Chieftains do in their free time. I stand next to the fireplace as I change into my sleep clothes. I'm still sleeping on the first floor of the house because the stairs have been giving me problems. Toothless sits at the foot of the bed and looks at me expectantly.
"Time to sleep," I tell him. "Good night, Toothless." I scratch his neck a little and climb into bed.
I must be exhausted because I don't toss and turn like I have the past few nights. Instead, I'm impelled right into the cold cave of my recent dreams, riding on Toothless over the path of a thin, fast-flowing river. "Where are we?" I ask him, but he just keeps flying. A woman whispers in my ear, Come home. Come home to me, my Darling. A hound the size of my house growls and barks at us from below. He seems to be standing guard at a gate that we easily fly over.
Come back to me, the woman whispers. Come back to me.
Then something must happen to the artificial tail fin because we start to drop down, just past the gate. Somehow, we are separated as we fall. "Toothless!" I yell. "Toothless watch out!"
I wake up in a sweat just as I hit the ground. It takes me a second to realize I'm staring at the ceiling. That is the first time in the dreams we have ever gone past the gate.
I hear a soft groan near the window and when I turn to look, Toothless is there with one paw on the wooden pane.
"Toothless," I whisper, sitting up. "What is it?"
He groans again and looks back at me. His eyes are so sad.
"Come here," I say as I hold out my hand. He pads over to me slowly and puts his front paws on the bed so he can snuggle up against my side. "Hey, buddy. What's wrong?" I put my forehead against his. "We'll go flying again tomorrow, okay?"
He sighs and closes his eyes.
If only that were the problem.
I glance at the closed window and I wonder what's out there that I don't know about; and I wish that Toothless could tell me.
So this part doesn't have a beta. Please be kind! If you'd like to beta, drop me a line. I have two more parts written that need to be looked at, and another on the way. Heck, I'd love concrit for ths part too! Also, I wasn't sure if the Viking houses have windows, but I was thinking at least there might be holes in the walls that they close up with wooden panes...
Pretty much anything except for Mumbles: not mine.