Prologue

Stoick the Vast remembered the time when life held a trusted pattern. The days were more or less the same. Predictable, simple. The sun rose each morning, the village sprang to life with its pastimes of sheep rearing, fishing, and farming where the soil would allow. The sun would set with its more or less bawdy socializations that served the respectable purpose of making life interesting. Even dragon attacks were predictable in the sense one could always count on them. Stoick preferred life that way. He wasn't a man prone to excessive amounts of thinking. Life in Berk was indeed a simple if hard one and he preferred it that way.

His life followed a predictable pattern as well, the one he had always expected for his life. He grew up on the island, hunted dragons, killed hundreds, gained fame, married a nice village girl, took up his place as chieftain, bossed around a village, continued to slay dragons, and eventually became a father. All very traditional and expected.

The last thing threw him for a few loops, though he understood that was the way of things.

After a few stressful days dealing with what the midwife thought was a rather early birth and the possibility of death or necessary exposure the infant gained enough health and strength to show off a set of mighty lungs. It was those lungs that caused more stress with the incessant screaming.

Fortunately, as the next few months passed the screaming lessened and the baby they had called Hiccup began to show a happier personality complete with smiles and it seemed to Stoick that having a baby around the house could actually be fun.

Eventual mobility was a little more interesting. Crawling and creeping were exciting stages, as Stoick soon discovered Hiccup was incapable of staying in one spot for more than a few moments. No matter how many toy weapons Stoick carved up for Hiccup despite how stupid his wife said they were Hiccup would chew on one for a second, throw it on the ground, and crawl after something else entirely.

It only became worse when the walking started. Soon after that Hiccup figured out how to work around simple latches and bolts. The entire village was on constant watch for the escaped toddler.

Still, he heard stories from the other fathers. Worse stories, even. So yes, even those moments of excitement were predictable in the scheme of life. And it could not be said that Stoick the Vast disliked fatherhood but rather was completely infatuated with his child and certainly qualified in what little of the childrearing the father actually had to do.

So yes, life was something Stoick could understand.

Until the year Hiccup turned five. Spring came later than usual and brought with it too much rain that sent a quarter of the village into chills. It was a terrible season with too many deaths with his wife's somewhere in the middle of that count.

That wasn't expected, and was plenty hard. Stoick wasn't what one would call an emotional man, but he had shut himself up for a few days after that. Apparently he wasn't good at dealing with heartbreak.

Or at knowing what to do with a hyperactive five-year-old who missed his mother.

Or knowing what to do with a kid at all.

To be Continued…