Holding onto Toothless, Hiccup hopped forward. He noticed the dragon's concerned eyes not leaving him.
"Well this is all your fault. You kidnapped me," he reminded again.
Admitting his terrible truth, Toothless lowered his head. His ears drooped and he began whining miserably.
Hiccup rolled his eyes. His fingernails gently scratched behind his dragon's ear while he continued to hop forward. Since they were on flat ground, he turned his head to eye the chest strapped to his dragon's back. "Although, if you hadn't kidnapped me I never would have found that. You did well last night Toothless. I owe you a bit of crab." Before Toothless got any ideas about crab, he quickly added, "but not right now. Later."
A pink tongue licked excited lips. Toothless seemed to forget all his troubles of his human's current unable to walk situation. Crab sounded wonderful to him at the moment. Any food digesting in his stomach sounded pleasurable to his mind.
Young Hiccup was also thinking food sounded good. His own stomach was rumbling and announcing it was time to eat. Food was less important to his mind at the moment. He had more concerns occupying his mind.
No light was on the horizon just yet, which meant no one was awake just yet unless he or she had been on watch. The two avoided the watch towers anyway. There was something more important Hiccup had to accomplish before telling his father he was alive. Only one person he could think of would tell him about his mother's past and he had to seek her out.
While walking in the darkness, thankfully with no moon since the storm clouds continued cloaking the light of the night, Toothless and Hiccup headed for the house of the Elder. She knew something he did not know. Seeking the truth from his father, he knew, was going to lead to another argument about Toothless and dragons in general. His father told him his mother was killed by dragons so why would he know she befriended Toothless' father and helped raised the little dragon?
Toothless nudged Hiccup's arm with his nose. He motioned to his left at something.
Hiccup first saw the expression of guilt and wonder in the emerald eyes and then he turned to where Toothless was motioning. His foot stopped hopping forward and he stood in the darkness silently observing with his dragon.
A bright fire burned in the Haddock household. All windows were thrown open and the door was opened as well. Sitting right there on the footstep of the open doorway was Stoick the Vast. His forearms were folded across his knees, the right over the left. For a man who had most likely been up all night searching for him, Hiccup saw his father's worn, exhausted face yet the expression in his eyes was wide awake. Every crack of a branch and dragon flying overhead caused his own head to shift and move. The cause of sound not being from his son gave him more despair and grief.
A soft purr vibrated onto Hiccup's hand. Toothless once again motioned to the Chief. He knew it was the wise thing to at least tell his father he was alive. The Night Fury admitted hiding him away from his father was the right thing to do at the time, but he hardly slept that night because he worried the Chief was going to find them and do something terrible to Hiccup believing his own son to hide from him.
"Not this time Toothless. I need an answer," said Hiccup. He hopped forward. "Well, come on."
Righting his wrongdoings, Toothless did not move. He once again motioned to the Chief and purred.
"If I go before him, he'll never let me out of his sight again," Hiccup snapped softly. "I need an answer."
The Night Fury's eyes narrowed slyly. He lowered his torso to the ground and his nose specifically moved dead-on to Hiccup's left leg. He looked from Hiccup's leg to the Haddock house.
"You're probably right about that," admitted Hiccup softly and frightfully. "He's not going to be happy with you. You did kidnap me. Well, I guess I have a question for him too anyway. Let's get this over with."
The small Viking-dragon hopped forward with his left hand on Toothless' neck. They were but dark shadows against the dark night's cloak. Sounds of other dragons blended with them. Two Terrors came running over to them and ran around Toothless' legs like the always did.
Not taking into consideration his human's father was a few paces away and he was the only dragon who blew balls of lightning, Toothless frightened the two annoying Terrors away with one of those small balls of lightning.
A soft groan came out of Hiccup's mouth when he saw blue lightning from behind him. He shut one eye and turned the other open eye to his father. Stoick did not realize the lightning came from Toothless. Instead, his head turned to the sky momentarily.
"You are so lucky he didn't see it was you," noted Hiccup.
Toothless swallowed and lowered his head. He realized his mistake and good fortune. His only wish was those pesky Terrors to leave him and his human alone. They were the most liked dragon and rider by all Terrors, yet he didn't know why.
Slowly, Hiccup hopped forward until he was at the base of the hill leading to his house. His eyes turned upward. He pondered just what plagued his father's mind since Stoick had yet to notice them and his father's eyes were turned to the horizon. Glistening caused his father's eyes to have the appearance of glass. Hiccup didn't realize how one night of being kidnapped by his dragon could cause his father much worry and despair. All those years of his father not caring where he was or when he returned home changed from night to day.
Sighing heavily, Hiccup took a glance at Toothless who was quite low to the ground and eyes never leaving the Chief before hopping into the small amount of beaconing light burning from within the house. Within a few hops further into the light, Hiccup saw his father's head snap downward. The eyes on the Chief widened nearly out of his thick skull as he scrambled to his feet.
Stoick must have once been light on his feet, for he did not tumble down the hill while he galloped to his son. "HICCUP!" he cried relieved and joyously.
Having a feeling half the village was now awake and would soon be upon them, Hiccup slumped. His moment of shame was literally pulled out of him. Two huge arms cocooned around his small body, painfully squeezing him. Although he couldn't breathe very well, Hiccup did not want to tell his father he was squishing him. Being held in a death grip felt oddly warming and welcoming. His father had yet to hold him with such desperation since the Green Death incident.
Embracing his father's squishing arms, his own small arm pulled out of the grasp to secure around his father's neck. No words were spoken to him yet. His father had the first move.
Not Stoick found words coming to him. He was content kneeling on the path holding his child in his arms. To feel his son's heart beating and the warmth his small body provided was a greater comfort than listening to his voice imagine an excuse to save his dragon's rump. He searched nearly all the island of Berk for him. Every house, Viking and dragon, was peered into. All the teens were enlisted in his assistance. Gobber and Spitelout joined the search as well. Long after they declared the weather highly inappropriate to search, Stoick continued searching. Unknown to Hiccup, he sat on the doorstep for less than half an hour.
"Um, I can't breathe, Dad," Hiccup finally called out through his lack of air.
Instead of releasing him from his arms wholly, Stoick tucked his left arm under his son's knees while leaving the right wrapped around his back. He stood on both two feet and climbed the hill.
Toothless cautiously followed, yet when the door was slammed on his nose before he entered he understood well he deserved punishment. For the first time since he was introduced to the Chief, he warmed the grass near the entrance of the Haddock house before curling in the warmth. Stoick won that round and he found he could get some rest. Rest was not the same as sleep and so he kept a sharp ear for an argument.
The child was carried to his bedroom where he was gently placed upon his bed. A palm pressed against his forehead and then his sleeve was moved to his right shoulder. No fever. No blood.
Drawing a breath of absolute relief, Stoick collapsed as he sat beside his son. He ruffled the reddish brown hair. Words were forming in his mouth and on his lips. Words, but no sounds just yet.
Uncomfortably, Hiccup scoot himself against the wall where he leaned his back against the wood. He bent his right knee in front of him. Hands in his lap kept himself busy and gave his eyes an excuse to not have to look at his father as he watched anger and wonder and disappointment grow. He knew his father's eyes had not left him and he felt the uncomfortable feeling of each other's presence, a feeling the two of them should have been used to.
He moved his eyes upward to the very top of his eyelids then raised his head. His own mouth spoke to speak, yet nothing escaped but air. He tried again.
Stoick bit his lip and turned away before speaking to his son.
Their words were spoken simultaneously. "Yer arm any better?" "I can feel my arm." "What?"
"You go first this time," Stoick immediately said as he waved his hand at his son.
"I can feel my arm," repeated Hiccup awkwardly.
"Oh," noted Stoick. He leaned forward and began poking and squeezing the young man's arm. "Do ye feel all this?"
"Not around the bite," admitted Hiccup.
"Expected," nodded Stoick. He sat back and nodded his head further. "I give it until tonight before yer arm is back to normal."
"Good, because I have Training tomorrow," said Hiccup. "Dragons 101."
"Has It been around children?" wondered Stoick cautiously.
"Don't start calling him 'It'," pleaded Hiccup.
"He took ye last night Hiccup. Ye are lucky I don't go out there right now and chop his head off and mount it in front of our house," Stoick told him, struggling to keep his anger concealed.
"If it makes you forgive him, I wasn't going to come here right away. I need to talk to the Elder and I was going to talk to her before coming to you. Toothless thought it best for me to come here to prove to you I'm alive and so I can walk again," explained Hiccup softly.
"And why did ye not want to tell me yer alive?" wondered Stoick.
"Because I know you're not going to let me from your sight. I have to speak to the Elder and I know you won't let me speak with her alone because you're going to follow me wherever I go today," replied Hiccup.
"Is the dragon coming?" wondered Stoick with an arched eyebrow.
"It pertains to him too," said Hiccup.
"If he goes then I go," declared Stoick. "Nope, don't say anything to being protest!" He noticed his son's mouth opening to speak. "I am yer father Hiccup and I should know these things. Why do ye need to talk to her without my knowing? Hm?"
"It's just something about dragons and why she chose me," said Hiccup.
"I agree. I too want to know why she chose ye," noted Stoick. "We'll go together after breakfast."
"No, Dad, it's nothing against you, I promise. You probably already know these answers. I just want to talk to her about dragons and if she too wants one and what I'm supposed to do now that I'm on the council and things in general," said Hiccup.
"Not buying it Cuppy. Yer keeping secrets again. What are they? Tell me now," demanded Stoick, scooting closer.
Hiccup hugged his knee against his chest and rested his jaw on his knee. He did know one question his father would accept without telling him his honest reasoning. There was a question on his mind for his father anyway. He turned his eyes to his father's. "I wasn't out for two straight weeks was I?"
The reaction his father gave him was expected perfectly. Anger and authoritative rights conformed into a relaxed, grieving body. His face softened and eyes shut while shoulders slumped and torso moved backward. A heavy sigh escaped his nostrils. "No."
"Were you going to tell me?" wondered Hiccup curiously.
"Ye didn't bring it up so I wasn't going to," replied Stoick.
"I dreamed it," whispered Hiccup with eyes not willing to note his father's expression. "And it felt real."
Stoick sighed as he rubbed his palm against his forehead. "I feared this. I knew ye would have nightmares. I was wondering when they would set in yer head. I didn't know what they would be, but I feared them to be memories of what ye could not recall in the day mind."
"It was those two weeks. How close was I to dying?" asked Hiccup.
Painful memories crinkled Stoick's forehead and his eyebrows pushed the skin into further waves of agonizingly long hours of time. His lips set tight and eyes squeezed shut in the attempt to purge his own memories of sitting beside his son.
Hiccup leaned forward. He placed his hand on his father's. Immediately, the larger hand slipped out from beneath the tiny hand to hold in his own. He managed a small comforting smile to his father that became a small smirk.
Stoick's finger reached forward to touch the corner of Hiccup's smile. His finger moved upward on his son's cheek as the smile grew. "I would have given anything to see this."
"But you are right now because I'm awake and alive and the craziest Viking Berk will ever know," said Hiccup with a laugh.
Chuckling, the father scoot closer to his son. He cupped the back of his son's head to pull against his chest. "Oh, Cuppy. To answer yer little question, ye nearly died every day."
"I believe that," admitted Hiccup. "But, I mean, I must have started getting better before I woke, right?"
"No, ye slipped into a deep sleep a few days before ye woke. I didn't think ye were breathing a few times there. I couldn't sleep in my own room. I would lie down to sleep then wake up an hour later fearing ye had died down there," said Stoick. "But ye were getting better. We had all the problems fixed that we could fix. It was up to ye when ye woke and I hated that most."
"But I did wake up and I thought I was dead," reminded Hiccup. "Since we're thinking about that," he began as he pushed from his father. "I can't help but remember Spitelout with a Terror on his shoulder."
"Oh, Odin," muttered Stoick. He groaned as his palm smacked against his forehead.
"Am I to assume that he's claimed by a Terrible Terror?" asked Hiccup, almost believing it to be too good for truth.
"Ody is his name," replied Stoick.
"O-Ody?" wondered Hiccup.
"He wanted to give him a godly name," added Stoick, dramatically emphasizing "godly".
"So he gave him a name resembling Odin?" laughed Hiccup.
Stoick rolled his eyes and waved his hands in front of him. "I don't know what possessed him to name his dragon Ody, not a Godly name at all in my opinion. I will give my dragon a proper, respectable name for whichever breed it is."
"What did you just say?" wondered Hiccup quickly.
"I'll give my dragon a proper name worthy of a dragon," repeated Stoick.
"Did you just say 'my dragon' or am I imagining things?" asked Hiccup.
"Uh," was all that came from Stoick's mouth as his cheeks flushed red.
Hiccup laughed aloud in joy. "You want a dragon! I can't believe it. After all these years of killing them you want one? You actually want a dragon!"
"Wouldn't be so bad," admitted Stoick. His eyes turned to the window. "As long as it's not a Night Fury."
Toothless grinned at him.
"Don't think you're just going to get a dragon," Hiccup said while his laughter turned to a serious tone of voice.
"Wanting one and having one and being able to have one are three different things Hiccup," clarified Stoick.
"Who cares!" cried Hiccup. "You actually said you want a dragon. I can't believe it."
"If I say ye can go talk to the Elder with Toothless will ye get out of here and stop reminding me?" asked Stoick.
"Until I come back," said Hiccup.
Stoick grumbled. "Go on. Get out."
"Thanks my-father-who-wants-a-dragon!" said Hiccup.
Quicker than what should have been humanly possible for his condition, Hiccup jumped around his room in search of his clothes. Over excited and not quite thinking, he flipped his sleep tunic from his body.
Shaking his head, Stoick stood and turned his back to his son's bare body. Changing his unconscious son's clothes was one thing, but seeing his son completely strip down to nothing in front of him was another and simply not right.
Hiccup pulled his prosthetic onto his leg with a smile at knowing he could walk again. He grabbed Toothless' harness and fin just in case. Thinking logically, he threw them out his bedroom window. He heard happy feet rush around the house and then a door burst open.
"Hiccup!" his father's angered voice called.
"Yes?" wondered Hiccup as he appeared in the main room.
Toothless stood beyond the doorway in the house with his harness and fin in mouth. His tail was swishing back and forth, knocking a few shelves and chairs across the room.
"No flying," Stoick told him.
"I'm not flying anywhere," said Hiccup innocently and cursing Toothless with a narrow glare.
Gesturing his question, Stoick pointed a finger at the happy dragon and raised an eyebrow for further emphasis.
Hiccup shrugged. "It's easier to ride him when I have something to hold on to."
"No. Flying," Stoick said loudly.
"I know dad," Hiccup called, as he was already halfway out of the room.
Stoick placed his hands firmly on his hips. He lowered his head as it shook back and forth in disgust. Thoughts of amusement triggered his chuckling. He had one spirited son, and it was his spirit that often kept him alive after getting him into trouble.
Walking again and happily at that, Hiccup with his dragon prancing beside him, headed out for the northern hill of the village. While he should have been attending to his chores he was neglecting while the rest of the children attended to their own, he set out with a different intention. The usual Viking greetings welcomed him to the new day and a small attack by a few Terrors reminded him why he and Toothless often regretted liking them so very much.
Dragon and Viking approached the house of the Elder just over a hill outside of the village. Quieter from the heart of the village where the Chief resided over his people, she possessed the natural land to aid her in her decisions. Alone, her home was quite small and quaint. Nothing was spectacularly awesome, save for it may have been the only home on Berk that was at least half a century old.
Hiccup walked up to the door and, with a polite, firm rapping of his knuckles on the wood, announced his arrival. Patiently waiting, he quickly scanned the nearby Dragon Houses. A sigh released from inside his lungs as he spotted a hole in the thatched roof. Again, Scauldrons and Changewings burned a hole through their roof and two Scauldrons were currently flying into it.
Apparently bored, Toothless glanced to his human and then marched forward. His happy feet swished his tail back and forth until he broke out into a full run after adolescent Changewings who seemingly desired to play with him as well.
"Huh, you really aren't that old are you?" Hiccup muttered to himself after he turned his head hearing a commotion.
"He is but a child to the age of dragon."
Startled, Hiccup whipped his head around face to face with the mysteriously grinning Elder. She leaned on her staff with her frail hands and turned her eyes to the teenage Heir. "Hiccup," she addressed.
"I want to talk to you," said Hiccup.
"Clearly, as you are standing here," noted Elder. "What of?"
"My mother," replied Hiccup softly. "I need to speak privately to you where no Viking ears may hear."
"What is that which is deadly to human ears?" inquired Elder.
Exemplifying instead of speaking, Hiccup called for Toothless. His Night Fury approached and lowered his front legs to the ground. Hiccup removed the chest from his back and the Night Fury immediately bounded off again, happy to be free of the bulky weight.
The teenager stood straight again with bound pages of a book in his left grasp. "I found this in a cave beyond the waterfall in Fury Canyon. This cave had torches, fires, and paintings of Night Furies. Someone was there before. The owner of this journal was there before."
Elder's grin widened upon her frail cheeks until what was left of her crooked teeth emerged into the sunlight. Her cheek leaned against the staff. "I wondered when it would be you discovered the Cave."
"You knew!" Hiccup cried half astonished, half angered.
"Your mother spoke to me of the writings in these books," replied Elder. "I suggest we retreat up the mountain where the Timberjacks reside among the clouds."
"Um, Dad won't like that. I'm not supposed to fly yet," said Hiccup with a weary voice. He motioned to his slung up right arm with the book. "Dragon bite. Dad panicked and poisoned me with the antidote. Night Furies aren't poisonous."
"And yet you bring what is required for him to fly," noted Elder, her eyes gazing downward at the heap upon Hiccup's feet.
Groaning a sigh of defeat, Hiccup slumped. "Toothless, we're going to Timberjack Peak!"
A black head popped over the heads of the Changewings. Both ears were perked and his wide eyes fixed upon the teenager. He hopped over the Changewings with one bound and a flap of the wing. Recalling Stoick's words of "no flying", he approached cautiously. All doubt was thrown out as Hiccup began untangling the various loops and straps. Giddy as ever, he flopped onto his front paws and purred like a little cat.
Elder chuckled at his playful nature. She watched the small Viking prepare Toothless for what he loved most in all the world. The emerald green eyes followed his human and the small grin on the human became laughter when Toothless shook himself into the harness. There was something so very special about that boy. He was of his mother's blood more so than his father. So little he knew of the woman he once called "mother". So little any knew of the woman called "Valhallarama". She was the fiercest female Viking to have lived in Berk's three hundred years for near the similar reason young Hiccup became who he was.
"Well, do you think you can carry us both up the Mountain?" wondered Hiccup as he rubbed the Night Fury's nose.
Wondrous, Toothless shut his lips and tilted his head to the side. His eyes moved to Elder standing before him then back to Hiccup in wonder.
"Yes. Us. She and I. I want to talk to her alone," reminded Hiccup.
Toothless' eyes narrowed, as he was not familiar with the Elder, nor previously met her. Those narrow eyes searched her person like a vulture circling his prey. He sensed no fear or hatred toward him. His nose inhaled in her hair to discover no dragon blood on her person. Her aura was calm and peaceful with the earth and the wisdom of many years. No threat to him, he sat in front of her and lowered his head.
Honoring his respect, Elder also bowed her head with a gentle smile of gratitude. Her palm extended towards the Night Fury, but did not touch. The Night Fury himself connected the touch.
"This isn't the first time you've come across a dragon is it?" assumed Hiccup, less than amused knowing secrets of his mother's past were beyond his reckoning.
"Only a Night Fury," said Elder.
"Have you ridden a dragon?" wondered Hiccup.
"No," replied Elder.
"Okay, well, um, just don't let go of me. I don't know what'll happen if I tell my father I went flying and you happened to fly off," Hiccup said with concern and regret in his voice.
Uneasily, he hopped onto Toothless. The thought of having one arm to hang on himself and the Elder was not that of comfort. If his father discovered he flew himself and the Elder with one arm and against his wish he knew it would either end in himself chained to his father or Toothless' head displayed in their front yard.
A hand grasping his shoulder once again startled him and nearly caused him to fall from Toothless.
"Frightful aren't we?" chuckled Elder.
"You have no idea," said Hiccup. He patted Toothless on the side of his face. "Gently, Toothless. I'm doing this with one arm and have our village's Elder riding on my back. Oh, hey, what did you do with the chest? I don't want anyone finding that."
"I reclaimed all needed to explain your questions," replied Elder patting a knapsack strapped to Toothless' harness.
"All right Toothless, let's go," whined Hiccup, holding on for dear life already.
Toothless spread his wings apart then sprung from the ground in one great leap.
"This isn't gentle!" Hiccup cried.
"Calm Hiccup," said Elder, patting his shoulder with her right hand.
"Don't let go of me!" cried Hiccup.
"Calm," she replied.
Gentle, Toothless soared through the air. Instead of riding to Timberjack Peak, he turned to the right and flew out over Berk.
"All right, I guess we can go for a ride," admitted Hiccup.
A toothless grin widened across the Night Fury's face. His eyes brightened as they turned to peek at his human who was also smiling with joy. He knew nothing caused greater happiness to his human than riding freely in the air. No acrobatic skills this time around. He simply flew straight and around the island.
The Elder shut her eyes with a heavy sigh. Contently, her grasp loosened from the teenager from the death grip of the initial takeoff to the gentle gliding. How a small human harnessed such a magnificent creature was not impossible to her eyes. It was how a human was blessed by the Gods to experience that which they saw became impossible. Human was not meant to fly among the great, noble creatures of the world as dragons were. Harnessing such an awesome power was a feat unknown.
When she first saw Hiccup as a scrawny child trailing behind his mother and father, she knew immediately in her bones he was his mother. She watched Hiccup grow with a close eye and his contact towards dragons and his father's close eye upon him. All was for good reason that not even the great Stoick the Vast's knowledge possessed.
Years reversed before her as she flew freely on the back of the Night Fury. In the air among the clouds, the elder, wise heart became childhood fantasy. Freedom in the air lightened her of heavy burdens. Soaring above the land blessed her from the gods. Hiccup was a remarkable child indeed. He was not a Viking of Berk; he was a Dragon of Berk. Yet, she knew his struggle between choosing which side his loyalties attend and she too worried for his choice. Perhaps, one day, it wouldn't matter which side he chose.
Young Hiccup Haddock was a child of pure heart. Her only regret was that of death's untimely hand, as she would not see his reign as Chief of the village. He would rule well among the greatest of Chiefs. Already, he led well and knew to follow the Earth rather than the tradition. Now and then tradition was meant to be broken.
She found with her nearly toothless grin that the tradition of humans settling onto ground and sea of the Earth was one tradition she regrettably desired to have broken sooner. A childish laughter erupted from her lips as Toothless turned sharply in the clouds and downward towards the sea. The wind breathing life through her white hair rejoiced a simple, childish thought in her heart: better to have broken tradition in her old age than not at all!
A Note from TurtleHeart:
reviews loved as always! many thanks!
well, not much to say this time around. quite a short chapter in my opinion, yet the next one or two are most likely lengthy as Hiccup's relationship to dragons has an answer written by the blood of his mother.
though, i did purchase the How to Train Your Dragon Series and read the first four in one sunny day in the hammock and absolutely adore them! who knew Toothless was such a headstrong little thing?
anyways, i'll let you do the noting this time around. comments? questions? concerns? likes? dislikes? how about the Elder having fun riding a dragon? what do you think Stoick will say about that when he finds out? anything at all, let me know!