Chapter 4 - How to Find a Nest

Disclaimer: I do not own HTTYD and will never make any money of the property of others..

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Author's Warning: If you haven't picked up on it this will be mainly an Astrid/Hiccup story. The character will not be an exact copy from the movie or books. Also the story is by no means perfect I will probably rewrite the entire thing at some point.

Author's Note: Sorry, its been a while. I've been lazy and had other things in my life. I hope to have the next part within a couple of weeks.

The next morning…

"Hiccup wake up." Stoick bellowed slamming the door to his son's room open. He stared in surprise at the large dragon shape in the center of the room. "Hiccup?"

The dragon raised its head and nodded in response. "You figure out how to control the curse yet?" The dragon attempted to shrug and the wings swept books of the shelves in the room. Stoick sighed, "this would be much easier if you could talk." The dragon nodded and followed his father downstairs. He left his father inside and pushed the door open leading to the village. He used one toe claw and began scratching shapes into a bare patch of earth.

"You having breakfast of what?" His father yelled out the front door of the house. His son gesture at a patch of dirt and Stoick stomped outside. "What is so important?" His son gestured at the scratches in the ground. "Change once a day." Stoick muttered reading the rune drawn into the ground. "You can only change once a day," he said to his son and the dragon nodded.

"Good morning. Still a dragon I see." Astrid said as she ran up to them.

"You knew about this," Stoick asked in surprise.

"Someone decided to drag me out last night to go flying."

"Good going son. But it would probably work better if you human to seduce her." He said into the dragon's ear. His currently dragon son glared at him and snorted.

"We were about to have breakfast, if you would like to join us." Stoick said.

"Sure." She said following the other two in the house.

"So what are you doing in training today?" Stoick asked as he pulled some eggs from a basket.

"I don't know. Gobber never tells us anything." Astrid replied in an annoyed tone. Stoick nodded his head and began scrambling some eggs. He pulled a half dozen cod from a basket and tossed them on the table for his son. "You're turning into a right pretty lass." Stoick said as he served the eggs. "You almost look like your mother at your age." He put the skillet aside and joined them at the table. "I almost ended up with you mother."

"So what happened," Astrid asked with morbid curiosity?

Hiccup swallowed a cod whole while she was distracted. He was fairly sure demonstrating how to eat a cod whole would not impress her.

"Hiccup's mother found me drunk and beat the snot out of me one night. She tied me to a tree and explained I was going to marry her."

Astrid's eyebrows almost disappear under her headband. "What's awful!"

Stoick got a strange smile and stared at the ceiling. "At first… She then demonstrated why I should marry her. "She did this thing with her tongue."

"We should get to class," Astrid yelled following Hiccup out the door.

"Kids these days," he said. "Its not like I told them about the time I slept with both of their mother at the same time."

Many people stopped and stared at the couple walking through the town. "Beauty and the beast," Snotlout growled.

"Seriously," Tuffnut asked? "We got to get you a girl so you'll calm down. Why don't you ask my sister out?"

"What? Are you insane," Snotlout yelled?

"Tell you what. You get her out of my hair this winter and next spring we can go raiding for some Celtic girls. "

"That's a big favor your asking," Snot replied.

"Just think about it." Tuffnut said as they walked to class.

Dragon training…

Hiccup was excused from dragon training, since he was currently a dragon. Gobber sent him to watch the training from the arena's rim. He stood apart from a small group of other spectators. He felt something touch his tail and turned to see a small boy with a tinny wood sword running back to his mother.

He sighed and wondered if it was less annoying to be feared. The young village children had quickly decided touching a dragon was a sign of bravery even if it was Hiccup. He had found himself quickly annoyed with the game. He had considered attempting to play with the kids, but thought it was a bad idea. One over protective parent and he would quickly find himself under deadly attack. He couldn't attempt to scare the kids into leaving him alone for a similar reason.

He even had one angry Vikings mother chew him out. She yelled something about him being a bad influence on the children. This was after her son had joined the game of 'touch the dragon'. It was annoying he couldn't tell her to control her own damn kid.

Later at lunch…

Hiccup returned to the village after going fishing for lunch. He had found that by trail and error his breath attack was a great way to fish. You merely had to find a school of fish near the surface and fire. You then scooped up the catch and dropped them on a nearby beach. He felt weird about eating as a dragon around the villagers not that Vikings really cared for table manners.

He landed near his house and Gobber approached him. "Welcome back. I spoke to your father and we cancelled your training with Armond, while you're a dragon. We want you to get some sleep this afternoon. If the dragons show up, we'll try our plan. If they don't show up we would like you to fly a patrol tonight for navigation practice.

Elsewhere in Berk…

"So he took you flying last night," Ruffnut asked?

"Not so loud," Astrid muttered. Several people turned to look at them from her friends outburst.

"That is so cool. So what happened?"

"He woke me up in the middle of the night and indicated he wanted me to get on his back. I told him, I was going back to bed. He then blocked me from leaving until I got on his back. He then jumped off the point without giving me any warning. It took me a couple of minutes to clam down and to stop hitting him."

Ruffnut laughed at her friend. "Where did he take you?"

"Over the island and the ocean surround it."

"How high and how fast?" Fishlegs asked from his corner of the table.

Astrid shrugged her shoulders and continued. "It was fun once I calmed down. I found it weird that the clouds are like fog and seem to be made of water." She ignored Fishlegs adding this comment "The stars were so bright and the cloud were lit by the moon. It was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."

Ruffnut laughed at her friend. "Are you blushing?"

"Of course not," Astrid replied sharply.

"So you will not mind if I ask him to take me flying."

"Knock yourself out," the Hofferson girl replied bitterly.

"Have you considered what will happen if Hiccup finds the nest?" Ruffnut asked her friend.

"Everyone hopes the dragons will move and leave us alone." Her friend replied slightly confused.

"I meant Hiccup. If he lives through all this he'll be the biggest hero for generations. He might be more famous than Alfred the Slayer." Ruffnut sighed and continued speaking. "You know its common in many villages for a chief to have more than one wife. If Hiccup finds the nest and lives he's going to be really important. He'll likely end up with at least a couple of wives for political reasons and possibly you (1)."

"So? We don't do that in Berk."

"Just because Stoick only had one wife doesn't mean Hiccup will. And don't forget I will pursue Hiccup if you drop the engagement." Fishlegs dropped his stencil in surprise at the comment. Ruff turned to the stunned boy. "If you weren't engaged, I might be chasing you." She laughed after a neverous Fishlegs bolted for the door.

"That wasn't nice," Astrid muttered.

"It was the truth. He is cute in a clueless way. But seriously he would be my preference if he wasn't engaged."

"Couldn't he have a second wife?"

"It's against local traditions and his family isn't wealthy enough to support a second wife." Ruffnut said with a sigh. "He or Hiccup would be preferable to Snotlout. Hel I wouldn't mind being Stoick's mistress over marrying Snot."

Astrid choked on her beer for a moment and shot her friend an evil glare. "Don't give me that look, I'm likely going to be married to Snot before next winter. I guess I should start training the moron. Unforunately he's still chasing you. That is going to complicate things."

That night…

Gobber finished strapping a pair of saddlebags to Hiccup. "Remember just patrol the area and don't go picking a fight if you can help it. You're our best chance of finding the nest so we need you flying. If things go bad you have some food in the saddle bags with a few basic supplies.

"Good luck son." Stoick said slapping him on a shoulder.

Hiccup turned to his classmate and nodded to them. He then stretched his wings and launched himself into the night. The crowd below slowly dispersed as the dark form was swallowed by the night's sky. He slowly gained altitude and head Northwest. The Vikings had always suspected the dragon's nest was somewhere in the Hel gate area. The hundred of islands and shoals were always shrouded in fog with treacherous currently for unwarily sailors.

He was passing through a cloudbank when a deep drumming sound seemed to surround hm. He began climbing higher and climbed out of the clouds. He looked down and saws hundreds of dragons appear in the gaps between clouds. He knew he couldn't allow the opportunity to pass and he cautiously followed the formation while attempting to use the clouds to remain unseen.

He glanced up at the stars and tried to burn the position of the constellations into his memory. He continued to pursue the dragons and they eventually led to a smoking volcano rising above the surrounding fog. It suddenly hit him like a wind gust; he felt something old and powerful in the mountain calling the dragons to it.

The hundreds (thousands?) of dragons were disappearing into various holes in the volcano carrying their dinners. He waited until the last of the dragons were disappearing into the mountain to land. He knew he should leave but he felt he had to see what was in the mountain. He entered an ancient lave tube worn smooth by thousands of passing dragons. The air was hot and humid as he entered deeper into the mountain. The tunnel widened and a large vertical cavern was revealed with thousands of dragons perched on ledges around the cave. He watched in surprise as the dragons were dropping their catch into the bottom of the cavern. The bottom of the cavern was covered in a heavy fog that parted as a large scaled head rose to snatch a gronckle from the air. He quickly turned and fled from the mountain.

Several hours later…

Stoick awoke as something slammed the door to his house open. His son was backlit by the early dawn light in the doorway before shambling past him. The dragon curled in a ball in front of the fireplace and closed its eyes.

His father approached and gently shook him. "Son, you okay?" His son sluggishly raised his head and nodded. "Get some sleep and we'll talk later." He left his son and found Gobber waiting at the door.

"He found the nest," Gobber said.

"Let's start getting the supplies for the fleet together. If he can lead us back, we'll launch in two days."

"I guess we don't have time to call other tribes together for this raid." Gobber said following Stoick towards the village.

"Not before winter," the chief replied. "Grab your class to assist you at the forge. The next couple of days will be busy ones."

"What about the fishing fleet?" Gobber asked hobbling along.

"If Hiccup has a firm grasp on where the nest is we'll send a fast boat to call them back."

That afternoon…

Stoick and a human Hiccup stood in the mead hall with the assembled captains. "My son has found the nest." He waited a minute for the room to calm down before continuing. "He believes he can lead us to the nest, but there is a problem. The nest will be defended by the largest dragon this side of Ragnarök. The dragon has a head at least the size of a longboat."

Stoick looked at his war band. "We have three options. We can ignore the nest and continue to fight the dragon raiding parties." This idea was met with quiet scorn. "The next choice is we attack next Spring with every Viking we can gather. No Viking alive could ignore such a challenge. We will have the sons of Odin from every village with us if we send word now." This was met with approval by several figures in the great hall. "The last option is we attack now and if necessary die like Vikings." This idea was accepted as a dozen weapons were brandished by the war band.

Stoick waited for the room to quiet and spoke. "We sail in two days. Today we assemble the supplied and call in the fishing fleet. Tomorrow, we will celebrate the coming voyage. Prepare yourselves because this will be the voyage sung about until the end of days."

Hiccup stood to the side looking grim. He didn't bother yelling at the assembled morons. He was sure they were going to die and accomplish nothing. The life of a Viking was normally short but he couldn't stand the idea of life wasted for nothing. He waited until meeting was disbursing to before heading to the forge.

Later at the forge…

Hiccup had found himself pressed into the familiar role of Gobber's apprentice at the forge as the village prepared for the raid. He had spent hours-sharpening blades and performing minor repair to shields. The day's work was over and he tried not to think about the coming voyage.

He was surprised when Ruffnut entered the blacksmith shop.

'Sorry, We not doing anymore work today."

"That's fine. Do you have a moment to talk," she asked.

"Sure one second," he responded returning the coal shovel to its place near the forge.

"How can I help you," he said.

"I've been thinking it has be to be so cool to be part dragon." Ruffnut said to Hiccup.

"I guess," Hiccup responded slightly puzzled by the statement. "It is also a pain in the ass at times."

"Bite me," she said.

"What," Hiccup asked?

"You got like this from a bite right. So bite me," Ruffnut said leaning close to Hiccup.

"That is a really bad idea," Hiccup replied as he took a step back.

"Come on," she said. "I get to be half dragon and get a cool scar in the process."

She started to unlace her vest giving Hiccup her best sultry look. "I'll make it worth your while." She said pushing him backward onto a wide bench. Hiccup flailed around but saw no options besides grabbing Ruffnut. And he was sure that would not improve his situation.

"I'll even let you decide where to bite me." She said slipping off her leather vest. Hiccup became increasing neverous as she reached for the hem of her wool tunic.

Astrid stuck her head through the window as Ruffnut took off her tunic. "Hey, you dad wants…" she began. Astrid closed her eyes for a moment before continuing. "Hiccup, your dad wants you at the great hall now." She then turned to Ruffnut and said. "I believe you owe me some time training."

Hiccup was moving almost silently to the door, when his fiancée mentioned. "Oh Hiccup, I will talk to you later." She said in a sickeningly sweet voice that still managed to contain a threat.

"I am so dead," he thought.

The people of Berk spent all winter retelling the story of a nude and bruised Ruffnut being found handing upside down from the arena's roof.

Notes:

Polygamy seems to have been common for Vikings in pre-Christian times.