Note: I have not yet had a chance to read the books. This will change shortly. But as such, Astrid will be in the story, as will her dragon Fishbreath, and most of the storyline will be based off of the movie. Thank you.
Also, there will only be canon pairings in this fic. Nothing else will be insinuated at all as far as I've planned right now. Also this fic will NOT have slash or yaoi. Please don't ask for it because it won't happen.
Unrest between viking tribes isn't exactly unheard of. Actually, it fits more along the lines of "a necessary part of the culture". I once heard that vikings fight other vikings because no one else is tough enough.
I can believe that.
Of course, no one else had to live through dragon raids while refusing to leave the most miserable set of islands in existence. Yes, I said "dragon". Of course, that's all in the past. Now we have to live through training them. That also means they have to live through training us. I'm still not sure which side has it worse.
And therein lies the problem. Two years ago vikings had a hatred of dragons that...well, wasn't pretty. Then again, nothing a viking does is pretty. At least, not intentionally.
That's where I come in.
Hiccup Horrendus Haddock III. If you've gotten this far, you probably already know about the name. Trolls and viking kids don't mix. I don't think they'd survive. The trolls, that is.
You also probably know where the connection between the weakest, scrawniest viking in history and training dragons comes in. If you don't, why are you reading this? Eh, never mind. I'll summerize:
I couldn't kill a dragon I'd shot down, and so instead I set him free, but he ended up being trapped without the ability to fly because he'd lost a stabilizing fin on his tail. So I made one instead, got him to trust me and then got a system worked out that let's me ride him while flying. After that, we ended up taking on the head dragon and everyone lived happily ever after.
Okay, so I skipped a few things, but really, that's all you really need to know.
Well, that, and the fact that other viking tribes heard that we now have dragons as pets (don't ever tell my dragon I said that, I do not have a death wish, no matter what anyone says).
Vikings react to threats in three ways: 1. They get jealous and try to take what they want. 2. They get jealous and try to copy/learn/make what they want (less successful and a far less preferred to the first) or 3. They try to kill it to eliminate the threat. I'll lump "destroy", "threaten" and "maim" in there too.
They only go for the peaceful situation when they cannot possibly hope to do one of the above...and even then, you have to work pretty hard to get them to not run off and commit suicide in the name of their cause.
Fortunately, it's easy for a human's survival instincts to kick in when facing down a pack of dragons. Hence the reason why no one had openly attacked us just yet, but remember that suicide thing I just mentioned? Oh we all know that something's coming. The trading has been getting worse and worse since our problems were supposedly solved, and it's almost to a point where other vikings won't even talk to the people here on Berk.
And it's all my fault.
Hiccup sighed at his internal thoughts as he stared out at the open sea, moonlight reflecting across the water stretched over the horizon. He couldn't sleep, not when he felt so guilty. He knew that he couldn't have prevented the situation any more than he could stop the sun from rising, but he was the one that ended the war between humans and dragons.
Almost single handedly. Well, not quite...
A nudge on his shoulder and a worried growling from behind him brought a sad smile to his face. Glancing over, he saw his best friend and reached out to scratch the dark, scaled nose.
His best friend also happened to be one of the deadliest dragons in existence. The same dragon that he'd hit almost two years ago, the same one he'd set free and the same one that he'd helped to fly again. The same dragon that refused to leave his side 90 percent of the time.
He'd thought ending the war between humans and dragons would help his town, and it had, but it had also opened up a whole new kettle of month-old fish. Now they had war threats from practically every single tribe within a months sailing distance. And of course, the lovely, stubborn to a fault vikings couldn't ever come to a compromise.
Sometimes he wondered if he'd gotten switched at birth; some sort of error of the Gods (not that he'd say that sort of blasphamy out loud). It amused him in a sort of morbid way to imagine a large, tough kid lumbering about way down south somewhere, eating with a family Hiccup should have been born to. Maybe one of those Celtic people (although he hadn't heard many fabulous stories about them either)?
More nudging on his shoulder broke through his thoughts. "Hey, buddy," he said, turning his attention to the still worried-looking, green-eyed reptile. "Sorry. Haven't really been myself lately."
The Dragon snorted as if to say "well, duh."
Hiccup couldn't help a snicker and pushed himself to his feet, his eyes setting momentarily on the mechanical-like limb that replaced his left leg, marveling that he'd gotten so used to it. When he'd first woken up after the fight at Helheim's Gate, he'd honestly thought he'd never get used to the contraption. But after a few slight modifications and a little time, he hardly noticed it anymore.
"How about a flight, huh?" If there was one thing that always calmed him down, flying with his dragon was definitely it. Of course, if Toothless didn't want to go anywhere, he'd let Hiccup know, and they wouldn't, but just as Hiccup had predicted, the dragon immediately lit up.
"Alright, alright," the sixteen-year-old grinned, smiling with real intent for the first time that night. Probably for the first time in days. It only took him a few minutes to grab the equipment, and then experienced hands had the dragon saddled up in no time.
Then, in a few heart-thumping seconds, they'd taken off. Hiccup had to admit, he loved take-offs, sometimes better than landings (depended on the landing). Some of those were easy to hate, but some of them easily beat the take-offs into the ground. No pun intended.
Once they'd reached a good altitude, Toothless leveled off into a calm drift as they flew out over the usual, semi-still waters of the northern ocean in late spring. Hiccup let out a deep, contented breath as his troubles seemed to blow away on the cold, northern wind. They'd be there on the island, waiting for him when he got back, but for now, he had a pure moment of bliss.
His breath streamed out behind him, white and crisp. They continued to fly out to sea to avoid the patrols that had become so mandatory. He could just imagine the look on his father's face if he found out Hiccup and Toothless had been out (much less flying) at this time of night during such unrest...again. Not something he looked forward to. That, and Astrid would probably try to break his good leg when she heard about it.
He really shouldn't break the rules, but at the moment he didn't care. He needed his freedom, just a moment to forget everything and-
A jerk from Toothless drew his attention to the almost completely black Dragon.
"Toothless?" he asked, leaning forward. "What is it."
The dragon nodded his head slightly downwards, telling Hiccup to look down. He did so, scanning the choppy, icy waves. At first he didn't see anything in the near blackness. Then, the light from the half-moon caught on something.
"Of all the crazy..." Hiccup muttered under his breath. It was probably some fisherman from the island. Of course, it could be an enemy ship of some sort, but either way, Hiccup felt certain he could take care of it.
Nudging Toothless, they dipped downwards, speeding towards the boat. They reached another glide a few feet above the highest waves, and flared to slow down. Toothless would have to flap his wings more at this speed, but Hiccup wouldn't be able to talk to anyone in the boat if they flew any faster.
"Who goes there?" he yelled out, already adjusting the flying contraption (as Gobber called it) so they could swing around, keeping a good distance from the vessel. It wasn't very large, from what he could see. Bigger than most fishing boats, but smaller than the full-sized sailing vessels the Vikings usually took to trades or wars.
No one answered, and something about the situation made hiccup feel uncomfortable. What would a fishing boat be doing out this late at night, this far from the island. It may only have been a couple minutes flying, but by boat, it would take more than an hour to get out this far, especially with the sea the way it was.
Still, Hiccup wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. Besides, it wasn't like they could hit him and toothless at night. Not when the dragon fit so well into his own element.
"If you don't identify yourself, you will have to answer to Stoick the Vast; Chief Viking of Berk!"
That's when he heard the chanting. Soft and soothing, it seemed to float on the wind. He couldn't make out any words.
"Hello?" he yelled again, worried that maybe something had happened to the people in the boat. Maybe they were wounded? Or even, in this water, freezing to death! "If you can hear me, answer!"
Then Toothless did something he didn't often do. Without warning, he jerked at the reins and turned around heading back for the island and throwing Hiccup off balance.
"Toothless?" he asked once he'd regained balance, now focusing on his best friend and noticing with more than a little worry that the dragon had begun to shiver. Boat now completely forgotten, he leaned forward again, catching onto the Night Fury's urgency. He was working hard to get back to the island as soon as possible, his wings beating quickly, and hard.
"Toothless, what's wrong?" Hiccup yelled, just as the Dragon started to shake.
That's when he noticed the strange feeling growing at the back of his spine, a sort of numbness that felt similar to when his foot fell asleep. He ignored it in favor of figuring out what had happened to his dragon.
They'd begun to lose altitude after the short climb. He couldn't tell why, so he adjusted the fin, but nothing happened. He adjusted again, and yelped as they jerked downwards.
"Aim for a field of grass! Away from the rocks!" he shouted, his voice now harsh from the cold and continuous yelling. Toothless's ear smacked him as if to say "shut up, I know!" They'd almost reached the island again when Hiccup really noticed something.
Toothless was shrinking. The realization left him in more than a slight panic. Their speed as they approached the island didn't help.
"What the..." he started, but cut off when he felt the numb feeling grow outwards, almost like...
He looked behind him just as Toothless's wings gave out completely, and any thoughts of the strange feeling flew from his head as he and his dragon dropped like rocks out of the sky. The dragon wings on either side of him beat hard, and he refused to let go of Toothless. They reached a field that grew near the sea, and he aimed to land in a soft patch of snow that had not melted yet.
Unfortunately, this fact didn't stop the collision from hurting immensely. Both Hiccup and Toothless skidded to a stop, and saw one last look at the stars over the ocean before the blackness took even those, and they lay in huddled heaps on the cold, spring ground.
The first thing Hiccup became aware of when consciousness returned, was the fact that he felt warm. Not like snuggling under a blanket warm. No, he felt another body next to him...make that two: one on either side. They seemed to generate a good amount of heat, which he felt immensely grateful for, as he breathed in the crisp, cool morning air that still had the lingering touch of winter.
Then, as his brain began to slowly function again, he began to wonder why someone was trying to keep him warm. Had he fallen in the ocean? He didn't remember doing so.
Then he realized that his body hurt, all over, but especially around his neck and chin. He'd undoubtedly have a bruise there. When Astrid found out, she'd probably give him a matching set on both of his arms.
That's when he began to notice how hard his bed felt. With rocks. Had he fallen asleep outside with Toothless again? Well, that would take care of his problems with bruises as Astrid would spare him the pain and probably just kill him outright for that.
Well, better get this over with.
He went to move from his comfortable, curled-up position, when he heard the men speaking. Gobber? And Spitelout, it sounded like. He cracked an eye open. Yep, he was in the dragon pen. Not too surprising. He and Toothless spent a lot of time there...
Something tugged at the back of his mind, but he shoved it away to go over later as Gobber and Spitelout's conversation became audible.
"-Found them on the eastern side of the island. Never seen a dragon like him before. I'd almost say he looks just like a Night Fury, except for the coloring."
Despite himself, Hiccup perked up. A dragon they'd never seen or heard of before? He found himself wanting to meet the newcomer. Now somewhat alert, he watched both men continue to come closer. He didn't want to move at the moment. The second he did, he'd lose what warmth sleeping with the dragons gave him.
Then Spitelout said something that kicked Hiccup into high-gear.
"And you think they had something to do with Hiccup and Toothless' disappearance?"
What? They'd gone missing? That's when the strange events from the previous night finally came back, and he decided to poke his head into the conversation; at least let them know he was alright. He couldn't help but notice that his head seemed to rise a little higher and faster than it should.
"Hey, I'm right here," he said...or that's what he meant to say. It came out more like "rawawwwer rrrraah araaaarar."
"Oh, he's awake," Gobber grinned, coming over to Hiccup, who had a deep, sinking feeling in his stomach.
That's when he decided to look down at himself, hoping beyond hope that this wasn't really happening. He'd curled up into a position that was surprisingly comfortable...but shouldn't be. Looking down, he saw rust-colored, stubby-looking arms and claws instead of long, thin fingers. He had claws. Quickly, he turned to look behind him, only to see a long, reddish/brown, scale-covered body stretched out, all the way down to a tail. The heaviness he hadn't realized had been on his back turned out to be wings. Big, beautiful, crimson-colored wings that stretched out when he willed them to.
He stared at them in shock for several moments, moving them up and down slowly, as if to illustrate that yes, he was indeed moving them himself.
The two dragons (a gronkle and a nadder) that had been sleeping on either side of him didn't much care for being woken up by his sudden movements.
'Oi, go back to sleep,' the nadder muttered.
And right about then is when Hiccup decided to panic.
Toothless didn't panic.
Okay, so he got a little worried sometimes, and he could be rather rash, but he never lost his head in a bad situation.
At first he'd woken up slowly (and rather reluctantly due to the pain he still felt from having met the ground in the worst way possible) to see himself surrounded by several humans he'd come to know from the village, one of which happened to be the father of his human. It had been the looks of displeasure focused on him that got him a little worried. He hadn't seen that expression on Stoick the Vast's face in a very long time. Something was wrong. So he fell into default mode: find Hiccup. Dragons could physically handle a lot more than humans, so if something wasn't right, 99.9 percent of the time, something had happened to Hiccup.
That's when he noticed that he was in a bed. A human bed. With covers and everything. And his limbs felt...wrong. Pushing his worry for Hiccup to the side for a moment (no easy feat), he looked down at himself...and utterly panicked.
PINK! Of all the colors, he had to end up looking pink! And he had human hands. Quickly, he reached up to his head, looking for his ears. Instead, he felt soft hair of all things! And he'd lost a foot. Somehow, he felt that would be similar to his missing fin as a Dragon, but the thought did little to appease the sudden adrenalin rush.
"Calm down!" he heard Stoick growl, but couldn't stop himself from jumping up (rather awkwardly in this strange body) and backing away, looking between his hands and desperately throwing off the covers to confirm that his feet had undergone the same transformation. That's how he ended up in a tangle of firs and on the back of his neck on the opposite side of the bed.
The blow only stunned him for a moment before his mind started racing off again. Where was Hiccup? Did something happen to him last night too? What had happened? All he remembered was the strange chanting, and then the numb, tingling. He'd started to feel wrong, so he'd headed back for the island, and then the ground rushed at them...and then nothing. Looking past the men, he saw the door and made to jump for it, only to have four different (and very strong) pairs of arms grab him firmly.
"Hold him!" Stoick yelled as Toothless began to thrash, rather wildly. How could this (or any) body be so weak that he couldn't take a few simple humans?
After several minutes of futile struggling, he gave one final squeak (he could not describe such a humiliating sound any other way) and settled down, glaring up at Stoick, and looking for the slightest opening that would give him the opportunity to break free.
"Now that you're ready to listen," Stoick said, sounding rather put-out. "Let's get to my son. Where is he?"
Toothless just blinked up at the man. They didn't know where Hiccup was? Then something in his brain snapped and he began to thrash again, trying to roar in anger at their incompetence and shouting that he didn't know. It came out sounding more like a dying rodent than a dragon, and a strange heating sensation came over his cheeks.
Sighing and rubbing the bridge of his nose, Stoick paused for a moment. "Alright then," he said, sounding like it really was not alright at all, " what's your name?"
"And why were you found near a dragon?" another man yelled. "We don't know you! How do you know-"
Stoick cleared his throat, and the man looked up at him for a moment before backing down.
"Who are you?" Stoick said, rewording the question.
Toothless weighed his options. Either he could try and get across who he really was, or he could try to fight his way out again. Or he could just stay there, but if Hiccup were in danger, he had to do something. No telling what kind of danger that kid had gotten into. Sometimes he wondered if he'd gained a best friend, or an infant hatching that would forever remain such.
"Ooo," he tried, forming the shape of his mouth to what he remembered Hiccup's looking like. "Eeehhh." Yeah, as Hiccup would say "that was a fail". The vikings regarded him strangely for several seconds.
"Sir, I don't think he can speak," one man muttered to Stoick.
Toothless felt another surge of embarrassment (accompanied by that strange, hot sensation that he would normally only feel in his gut before he shot fire), and then turned it quickly into anger, growling at the man and making to strike out at him.
"If you attack him, you die," Stoick informed him calmly. Toothless regarded him for a moment before backing down, but no before sending the man a dark glare. He hated this. Humans didn't threaten him...not if they wanted to live. And now he had no way of doing anything. Were all humans this weak? No wonder they made metal teeth and fake scales for protection. He'd have to redouble his efforts with Hiccup when they got this all sorted out.
Yeah, definitely a hatchling. He slumped down on his seat with a sigh.
"He can't be an enemy spy if he can't speak," one of the men stated, relaxing his grip, as did several of the others at his observation. Toothless took note of this, slowly tensing his muscles as he waited for just the right moment...
"He can clearly understand us, even if he can't talk," the chief viking pointed out, sounding more and more frustrated with each word.
The man who spoke previously looked back up at his leader. "Then how would he be able to tell-"
Several yells cut him off as Toothless channeled all of what little strength he had into his legs and shot towards the door, ducking under the restraining hands. Obviously they hadn't been expecting something from him as he escaped their grasp fairly easily, ducked by Stoick and was out the door before anyone could say much of anything.
They'd been in one of the side rooms of the great hall. Toothless hadn't ever actually been inside them as there had never been a need, and he'd been worried that he wouldn't know where he was in the town. The rooms obviously made decent cells when someone needed to be held, but because all of the interrogators and the chief had been inside the room with Toothless, they hadn't locked (or even securely shut) the door.
Of course, once he was past the initial bound and no longer had anything to really hold onto outside the room, he realized how difficult it would be to outrun anyone without a leg. His opinion of human bodies dropped even lower, if that were even possible. Gritting his teeth in determination, he lunged forward, barely catching himself on one of the large, empty tables just as the men behind him practically broke down the swinging door.
"There he is, get him, men!"
Oh how Toothless missed his wings. No wonder the humans kept clamoring after dragons. No one should be this unable to fly away at times of danger. Still, Hiccup had managed as a legless human somehow, so Toothless would too. He dragged himself as quickly as he could onto the table, using the momentum to duck into a roll. It hurt more than it did as a dragon, but he ignored the pain (and the rather dizzy feeling that came with it) and fell off the first table in a somewhat controlled manor, manging to catch himself on the second one.
He'd just leapt up and onto the wood when something reached down and grabbed him by the scruff of the plain tunic they'd somehow managed to get him into. In seconds, he found himself looking down at the ground and wondering on the irony of the fact that he'd just wished to fly only moments before. Somehow, he knew this wouldn't end well.
"Nice try," Stoick growled, turning Toothless to face him.
Toothless saw the man's expression and suddenly had an all too real experience at how Hiccup felt every time his father caught him doing something strange or harmful. While his opinion of the human body couldn't have gone lower, his opinion of his human soared to new heights.
"Well, boys, what should we-"
"Ic!" Toothless managed to say. Stoick stopped looking down at the defiant gaze the former dragon now regarded him with. Toothless had very little idea as to how to form the last syllable of his friend's name, so he tried the first part again. "Hic!"
The men gathered around him, some looking confused (although most looked rather miffed). "What's he trying to say?"
"Hiccup?" Stoick asked, his voice carrying a threat under all the hope.
Ignoring the implications in the other's voice, the former dragon nodded. "Hic!"
"Where is Hiccup?"
Toothless blinked, then looked down in shame. He'd lost his human, the one he'd sworn to protect. "Hic...up," he said softly, trying to form his mouth around the strange sounds.
Surprisingly, the large viking seemed to get the picture. "You don't know."
Slowly, Toothless shook his head.
After several tense moments, Stoick sighed and set Toothless down. "Come on," he said. "Let's see what Gobber can do about your leg.
"You sure the spell worked?" the harsh voice streaked through the wavering firelight of the small island they'd taken shelter on. The old woman looked up from where she'd been trying to warm her old hands.
"I canna tell," she croaked. "Dun't kno' how it 'fects dragons. They're magical bein's themselves."
The larger figure of a man with gray-streaked black hair and beard suddenly changed, his aura turning menacing. Holding back a wince, the old woman leaned away from him.
"Let's hope, for your sake, that it did," he said, his tone holding a the certain promise of immense pain.
The old woman gulped and nodded.
"So ya think the boy had anythin' to do with Hiccup's disappearance?" Gobber asked around a mug of mead, despite it still being fairly early in the morning.
Stoick shook his head, watching the boy explore the shop like he'd never seen half of the weapons and tools before. Probably hadn't, if he couldn't even speak.
"Not on purpose," he muttered, trying to hold back a cringe. Too many of this boy's mannerisms reminded him of his lost child, pounding a steak into his heart with every limped step. His artificial leg wasn't more than a peg at this point, but the way he dragged it along, and the way he looked at each new find... At least wherever Hiccup was Toothless probably was too, so he had some protection, but that didn't bring more than marginal relief to Stoick's mind.
"But it can't be a coincidence. Those things don't happen...unless there are pixies involved!" Gobber's eyes suddenly lit up as Stoick rolled his. Trust his friend to come up with the least likely explanation.
"That boy knows Hiccup," Stoick continued as if he hadn't heard Gobber's unlikely comment. "But he's just as worried about him as we are."
Gobber set his mug down and leaned against a window sill, his own eyes finding the dark-haired boy. "His eyes look jus' like Hiccup's. Who is he?"
Stoick shook his head again. "I don't know."
"Ah well," the blond man stood up, stretching his good arm over his head. "Yer son's only been gone a night. Maybe he'll be back."
"He shouldn't have been out at all!" Stoick rounded on his best friend and second in command.
Gobber shrugged, completely unaffected by the larger man's show of strength. "Since when has that ever stopped him?"
Stoick immediately deflated at the statement. "Yer right," he muttered.
"So, what do we do with him?" Gobber nodded towards the boy, who had found Hiccup's old desk and had begun to look through the parchments almost reverently, handling the paper like he'd never touched anything so fragile in his life.
"I don't know."
"Well he's gotta stay somewhere," the older man pointed out.
Stoick had seen that one coming. "Alright, he'll stay wi' me." That way no one would have a chance to take Hiccup's disappearance out on the boy and he might be able to get some sort of information out of the semi-mute.
"An' what about the dragon he came in with? Gave me a right scare this mornin'."
"That's another thing," Stoic said slowly. "How could he have come in with a dragon? No one else has been able to tame the beasts."
Apparently he wasn't talking as quietly as he should because the boy looked up, shooting a glare at them. It looked terribly familiar, but not like Hiccup at all. No, this boy seemed more fierce somehow. Stoick couldn't place where he'd seen that expression before for the life of him. After a few moments, the boy turned back to the desk and set everything straight before continuing around the room.
"Aye, I haven't heard o' anythin'." Gobber conceded. "Tha's why the other men think he might be a spy."
"Or a runaway," Stoick responded. "Someone who learned to train dragons on his own island, but was harassed or hurt for the knowledge and so he came here."
They sat in silence, watching closely as the boy came upon a reflective shield and jumped back, hissing. Then he regarded the metal in surprise and lifted a hand to touch it. Again he jumped back when the somewhat blurry form of the boy in the metal did the same. Then he lifted his hands to touch his face, eyes widening in surprise.
"I don't think he's ever seen a mirror before," Gobber commented.
"They're rare enough," Stoick replied.
"True, but still, never seein' your own reflection..."
Stoick nodded. The boy was indeed a mystery. One he intended to crack.
"Oh, and ya may want ta keep him away from the Hofferson girl," the blacksmith said, obviously finished with his break as he reached over for some tools.
"Astrid? Why?" Stoick asked. "Isn't she the one that found him?"
Gobber nodded. "Yeah, but if she thinks he has anythin' to do with Hiccup disappearin', she'll probably kill him."
Stoick couldn't help but snicker at that. Of course his boy would gain the attention of the most dangerous girl on the island. Well, at least they had one thing in common.