Why hello there. This is a second chapter. That is... Overdue? Maybe? Whatever I always take forever to update get used to it.
And there is no Toothless in this chapter. You know what, don't expect him until chapter four. That's what I'm planning anyway so just.
Good, Mind Slave.
Past warnings apply!
Hiccup stared at his cell phone, allowing himself to relentlessly tap his pen against the top of his kitchen counter. Just as he was about to reach out for the device, a sharp ding came from his microwave, and his pen flew out of his hand in surprise.
"Ugh, god dammit-" He groaned, putting his head in his hands, still shaking. Ever since he had finally left the window, Hiccup had progressively stopped being psyched about getting to meet his topic, but more and more freaked out as the weight of what had happened settled in. he had seen the Night Fury. Been attacked; could have quite possible been hurt or killed in the process… And now, late for work, with no real inkling of wanting to go there.
So ever since this realization, he had been pacing around his small apartment, trying to figure out what was best for him to do now. He was, what; almost two hours late for work? Did he really risk getting reamed by Stoic when already every little noise gave him a mini-heart attack? God, he just didn't know. A sick day would be really helpful, but he needed the money, and he still had a few classes he needed to take to finally reach that degree he wanted, and Stoic would easily see through the fact he wasn't actually sick (though being more than a little freaked out after nearly getting mugged and raped and who knew what else before being saved by the local vigilante who he just so happened to be writing a story about-)
Hiccup felt like banging his head on the counter.
He grimaced instead, and went to the microwave, taking out a plate of old take-out. That he had been planning on eating last night, so it wouldn't be considered old. Dammit, Hiccup, stop thinking about last night!
Fighting against the idea to just toss it out, he picked up a fork from the cutlery drawer and headed back to his counter, continuing to stare at the phone while he ate. The mini-staring contest lasted longer than the amount of time it took him to finish eating, and once again he was left to fight with himself over what he should do. After his thoughts had circled around for the fifth time, he acknowledged that fact he was just poking holes in the Styrofoam plate he had been using with his fork and this did not qualify as accomplishing anything, so he let if fall from has hands and picked up his cell phone.
Pushing himself away from the counter and hooking his foot around the leg of a chair by his table, he flopped into it haphazardly, resting his head on his hand while the dial tone from his cell played in his ear. Hiccup grimaced, letting out a groan when someone finally picked up.
"Berk Tribune; this is Rachel speaking." Hiccup blinked at the lazy tone.
"…Ruff? I didn't know you were a secretary on Thursdays." He allowed himself a moment of relief when his voice sounded as haggard as he felt.
"What the hell, Hiccup?" Her voice suddenly became a bit more interested. "I heard Stoic screaming an hour ago about something involving tape worms and you and a story about that douche-baggy badass wannabe crime fighter that's been running around. What the hell did you do?"
"Tape worms?" No, that was not a squeak of fear in his voice. Hiccup was sure. "I-I mean… Nothing. It's just…"
"And you're super late or some shit. Are you playing hooky or something? This isn't high school, Dufus."
"I'm not playing hooky, Rachel." Hiccup sighed, "I'm actually sick."
"Boo, you whore." Hiccup gaped at the comment, "You are like, so lucky you dated my best friend back in high school, or I would totally not be writing you off like this."
"Oh, god, thank you so much." Hiccup sighed, banging his head on the table. Rachel snorted on the other end.
"Ya, whatever Dude. I'm calling Astrid and telling her you're being an idiot again."
And with that the stubborn girl hung up. Seriously, are there any polite people in this city? Just one?
Hiccup wished he could work from home more often. With all the windows latched shut, door locked, and curtains drawn, his past anxiety was long gone and replaced with a renewed need to figure out his next move. Which was apparently building a fort out of his blankets and hiding underneath it with his laptop. He really had never felt better.
Though, these 'articles' and 'detailed spectators reports' that popped up with every search was making Hiccup's eyebrow twitch.
None of this is right. All of the descriptions seem… The young journalist held back a scoff, Batman-like. And as far as Hiccup was concerned, The 'Night Fury' was no Batman; but more of a young adult with too much free time. Hell, from the few moments he had gotten a look at the boy, he couldn't have even qualified as Robin. With an inner snort, Hiccup imagined that he was more the type of that human crime fighter in the old cartoon about mutant turtles. Oh god, I'm starting to sound like Fishlegs. What would Ruff say? Or Astrid? …I will never live this down.
Hiccup sighed, slouching back to rest his shoulders and head on the side of his bed, which was serving as a sturdy wall of his blanket fort. Clicking idly on the arrow keys, he scrolled back to the top of the window, staring at the pixilated picture of the Night Fury. It was the same one from the news article Hiccup was nearly assaulted with yesterday at work. "Fuck you." He muttered at the screen, sounding more like a moping puppy than resentful.
Still glaring pointedly at the image, he quickly opened another tab and went to his typical search engine, typing quickly so he didn't just stop before he registered what he was doing. Images quickly loaded up on the screen, and Hiccup groaned, banging his head on the side board of his bed. Nothing. Even when you ignored the unnecessary bullshit images that weren't what he was looking for, none of them had the defining characteristic that stuck with Hiccup more then just the vigilante showing up.
Those damn yellow eyes. Hiccup had never seen anyone have such… an outlandish eye color before. So what are they? Color contacts? But that's impossible. The guy looked dirt poor- He couldn't afford them. …And even if he could; who would instantly think: 'Hey, I'm going to be a hero! Time to buy some color contacts!'? No one, that's who. It would be way more smarter to buy… I dunno, proper attire? A bullet proof vest? Your own personal ambulance on speed dial?
"But the point is, they have to be his real eye color… None of the reports mention anything blocking his face-" Hiccup paused. "Oh, sonnova- But- No. No way."
After going back to his first tab and staring at the image, his mouth dropped open. "I can't believe this. Has The Gobber really fallen that low?" The brunette put his head in his hands, rubbing his temples. "Why am I even surprised, ugh. I can't believe they made up all this bullshit. It's all fake."
A small silence, and Hiccup clicked the tab off, "Well so much for that idea." And once more, he was left sitting in a blanket fort, pouting in front of a computer screen with no real clue on what he was going to say for his article.
"…" Hiccup pinched the bridge of his nose in agitation, "…So… None of the pictures are real; they're photoshopped… And… I have had a face to face encounter with the Night Fury… Maybe, I could make my own report? And editorial may be better. But editorial's aren't front page material. I'd need to bullshit this one, wouldn't I? But that sounds so… eeh." The brunette covered his face with his hands, pushing his eyelids as if it would help the story come to him more clearly. "Besides, the public has been force-fed this crap ever since this guy started hitting big name criminals. We'd need something that stood out. Like an eye witness. I'm an eyewitness." His hands dropped.
"I'm an eyewitness and I have nothing to say." Hiccup felt a pool of hesitance build in his gut, and was once more greeted by the wonderful feeling of just wanting to run his head into a wall. "I have absolutely nothing to say."
It took several moments for the harsh reality of his words to hit him.
"Oh god no. No no no. That isn't possible. Is it? It can't- I can't- But, I- No! No no no! Ooh god-!" He was cut off shortly by the ringing of his cell phone, causing him to let out a girlish shriek. Fumbling with the device (that had somehow managed to get wedged under the pillows and throw blankets he was using as cushions to sit on) he flipped it open with panicked jolty motions and to put the icing on the cake answered with a warm, "OH GOD WHO THE FUCK IS THIS?"
"…" There was a disbelieving snort, "It's me, Astrid? Do you not look at the name that appears on your cell when someone calls or-"
"GOD ASTRID I NEED TO ASK YOU SOMETHING PLEASE SHUT UP."
"Okay, is it possible for a journalist to have writers block? IS IT POSSIBLE MY JUJU IS DEAD? MY JUJU DIED, ASTRID."
"Woah, woah, what was that about what now?"
"I DIDN'T EVEN DO ANYTHING. I NEVER ASKED FOR THIS; AND IT'S NOT LIKE SOMETHING REALLY BAD HAPPENED. ALL I DID WAS HAVE A PANIC ATTACK AND FAINT- Oh god. I fainted. On the guy. It's his fault! HE STOLE MY JUJU AND NOW I CAN'T LEAVE THE HOUSE."
"THE THIEF. JUVENILE DELINQUENT. PETTY ASSHOLE. I-I… Astrid, I'm so confused…" They both seemed to breathe in simultaneously to speak, but Hiccup beat the shocked girl to the punch. "I don't even have a reason to be so wigged out; all I did was get mugged and then all this shit happened and then he showed up and I touched him and and- BUT WAIT I didn't touch him, I was thrown at him! I had no say in the matter! But it's still his fault because he is fucking up my life. God, this is just- I didn't do anything, Astrid. I don't even have a reason to go badass like in the movies because nobody even died. Like in that old Jodie Foster movie, where her husband got killed and shit. I don't even have a dead husband to back up my paranoia."
"…Sweet mother of- Hiccup, are you alright?"
Hiccup sighed, then wearily muttered, "…Ya… Sorry, I just… ugh, this has never happened before."
Astrid scoffed with worried indignation, "What, you losing your mojo or coming to realize you didn't have a dead husband?"
Hiccup gave a small mirthful laugh, "Both. …And it's juju. Journalist Juju."
"Whatever." It was silent for a short moment, before Astrid said something to someone on the other end, then spoke again to Hiccup. "My lunch break ends in ten. …Do you wanna talk about what happened? You haven't been this… upset… well, ever. And Ruff made it sound like you weren't this bad but-"
"You talked to Ruff?"
"She texted me at about ten thirty-ish, maybe later. Said to call you when I had the chance… With good reason, I'm starting to see."
"Ugh." Hiccup rested his head on the side board of his bed again, "I thought she was kidding."
"Hiccup? Seriously, you want to talk or what?" Astrid said sharply; she wasn't good at being empathetic, least of all when the other was too wrapped up in their own thoughts to see she was trying. The boy grimaced against himself.
"Uh, ya; um… Later? Didn't you mention you got off at five yesterday?"
"…Ya…" The apprehension in her voice was evident, and made Hiccup's grimace deepen.
"Okay… Can you come over after work then? …I don't want to leave the house."
"Yes, I know how much of a pussy that makes me look like. Please?" Astrid sighed at him across the phone, before he heard a scuffling sound crackle over to him.
"'Kay, then. I'll see you in five hours or so. Don't do anything stupid while I'm working."
"Define 'not stupid'?" He joked half-heartedly.
"I don't know; go on Facebook, play some games, Spider Solitaire, sleep, do your homework, clean the house, reorganize your DVD collection. Whatever it is geeks like you do when you're on edge."
Hiccup sighed at her clipped tone; and was reminded why dating her had been such an issue back in the day. She certainly hadn't changed much since then.
"Ya, see you."
And with that, he hung up the phone before she had the chance to; leaving him to stare at the screen of his laptop, watching his screen saver flash by: "- SHOULD BE WORKING. YOU SHOULD BE WORKING. YOU SHOULD BE-" He snapped it shut, setting it outside his fort while he put his head in his open palm- preoccupied thoughts whirling around too quickly to be made sense of.
Hiccup was rereading the same page he had been trying to get through for the past thirteen minutes when there was a knock on his door. The book flew from his hand (he couldn't tell you the title, he hadn't even cared. Something to do with a vampire?) and rushed to it, stuttering out a quick 'Just a minute' before opening the door for Astrid.
"Thanks for coming, can I get you a soda or maybe a coffee, or som-"
"So what's the deal, Hiccup?" The blonde woman quickly flopped onto his couch, dismissing his babbling and stared at him pointedly. "Don't try to wheedle out of this; you asked me to come over here. So come on."
"Well…" He ran a hand through his unkempt hair, "I don't really…"
"Sit down, and start from the beginning; this isn't rocket science." Hiccup fiddled with the draw strings of his hoodie, before looking at her with a pout. She rolled her eyes. "Sometimes I think you're more of a girl than I am, seriously."
Hiccup snorted, face suddenly losing all weakness, "Pff, ya, no; I'm just pretty sure you're supposed to be a man. I am perfectly normal, thanks."
"You gunna beat me with your purse?"
"YE- Oh, whatever!" He sat on the couch with finality, Astrid quickly moving her feet out of the way as he crossed his arms and growled.
"…So…?" She prodded lightly, crossing her legs and poking him in the forehead. He seemed to physically deflate and turned to her, a small frown in place, as if he wasn't sure to go on. He seemed to reach a conclusion with himself, and sighed; then began.
"Well, I guess the beginning is when I left Starbucks…"
When he was finally done; not leaving out a single thing (not even his rather embarrassing fainting spell), Hiccup also crossed his legs and sat with his back to the armrest, fully facing Astrid. She stared, before slowly reaching to his hoodie pocket and pulled out the note- neither of them saying anything as she read the message and he simply watched.
"I can't believe this."
"I know, it's so stupid-"
"You actually… I mean- Hiccup! This guy is a hero! Well… Not a hero. But pretty good at what he does." She refolded the paper blindly, "And… He actually let you see him?"
Hiccup rose an eyebrow, "…Well, he did try to have the most dramatic entrance he could muster."
"That doesn't sound like the Night Fury."
"What are you saying?" He groaned, resting his head on the back of the couch.
"Come on, it's your job to figure out everything about this guy; how can you not know this?"
"His secrecy. Never lets anyone too close- That's why all the pictures are so hard to make out."
"Oh." Hiccup thought for a moment. "I… I have heard that, actually. It just must've… Slipped. Since I saw him." He blinked, then glanced up at her, "Oh and, those pictures are fakes. They aren't him."
Astrid started, "Um, what?"
"Ya, anyone whose seen the Night Fury would know right away if they saw him in public or in a photo. They're way off."
Astrid gave him a look, before she gave him a once over. "Than maybe that's why he let you see."
She seemed to look at him distractedly, "Did you ever stop to think that maybe he knew you wouldn't say anything about him?"
"I don't think he's that type of guy."
Her face looked a little baffled, but she continued on, "I mean, he's a freakin' legend around here by now. And you were practically wearing a neon sign saying you were a journalist-" She pointed haphazardly at his sweater, "-so why in the world would he let the first person to see him that wasn't a criminal be you?"
"I don't know, maybe because I was in trouble?" He cut in with a scoff.
She shook her head, "I wouldn't."
He dead-panned, "That's comforting."
"Anyway, what makes you so special?"
"I'd like to think it's my amazing wit and charm." He cut in sarcastically. She glared at him, silently telling him to knock it off.
"Fine then, why don't you tell me why you seem so sure he isn't, and I quote, 'that kind of guy'?"
Hiccup glared at her, "I don't know, okay? He just didn't seem like a hardened Batman-esque anti-hero badass. Just some kid trying to do some good, in a really weird way. I don't think it would ever cross his mind to look out for a person specifically just so it would be okay to show his face while he saved them. It makes no sense."
They stared at each other for a moment, allowing everything to soak in. Finally, Astrid slowly handed back the Night Fury's note, which Hiccup pocketed quickly. She cleared her throat, then looked at the discontent young man across from her.
"Mother's Day is on Sunday…" She let her words drag off as he slowly looked up at her, furrowing his eyebrows. "Maybe, on Saturday we could go and get something? For your mom? After we pick something up I can drive you to the Cemetery. Like an early present; and it could get you out of the house."
Hiccup sighed, then smiled slightly, nodding. "Thanks. That would be… That'd be awesome."
"Kay." Silence grew between them again, before Astrid noticed the book on the floor, "…Seriously? Where in the hell did you pick up the Vampire Diaries?"
Ya Hiccup's a whiny little guy, I know, I know.
But it was the most fun to write so suck it.
And Astrid is totally the voice of reason, didn't you see that in the movie, too; guys?
(Oh, and. Yes, they did date in this story. They're friends now. It's cool, it's cool.)