The Time Loops are a concept that's around a lot, but I first encountered them in the ones done by Innortal. Basically, a Groundhog Day style loop for one (or more) characters, through their entire continuity. Crossovers start coming in after a while.
This is about a year's worth of Loops based around the characters of How To Train Your Dragon.
Hiccup Horrendous Haddock, heir of sorts to the Hairy Hooligans of Berk, was outwardly eager to get involved with the defence of the village against the dragons that assailed it. Inwardly he was feeling sick over what he had to do.
He once again had to cripple his closest friend, and most dear companion.
At first he had tried not shooting down the Night Fury, but had been so tearingly alone for the entire loop that he could not bring himself to again. Then he'd tried firing to merely trap the dragon, but it seemed that any shot that hit at all resulted in the loss of the tail fin, or one of the second-wings, or - one terrible time - the entire right wing.
So he'd resigned himself to shooting Toothless down in exactly the same way every loop, and simply explaining everything to the dragon before releasing him, and why over the next few weeks. At least the tail fin and saddle were both now regularly perfect the first time, and he could be flying perfectly with Toothless before the week was out, or sooner depending on Toothless' reaction.
He was midway through his work schedule of repairing damaged weapons from the raid when he noticed something.
The catapult was not damaged at all.
Hardly daring to hope, Hiccup simply dropped what he was doing - damping down the forge first - and gazed out the window. No screech, no blue fireballs, nothing.
Next morning, he slipped out early (his Dad had actually praised him for not doing something stupid that night) and headed northeast to the crash site (it was always the same, even when Toothless had lost his wing).
Then he went to the cove, hope and the fear of disappointment warring in his chest.
He needn't have worried. As soon as he was through the tunnel of rock, he caught sight of a familiar dark form, sitting patiently by the water's edge.
His voice caught in the back of his throat.
"Hi, Toothless. Guess we're in this... weird... thing together now, huh."
The dragon nodded solemnly.
Toothless approached as Hiccup scrambled down the rock face to him, and listened to Hiccup's rushed words. Hiccup, for his part, was trying to speak while his resolve was still firm.
"Look, buddy, I'll un-understand if you don't want me to ride you anymore, what with your - your fin being okay, and-"
He had got no further before Toothless had brought round his tail - his gloriously intact tail - and slapped Hiccup lightly across the face, before crouching down and looking plaintively at the not-really-a-Viking.
Hiccup was crying in joy and relief at the gesture. "Okay, that's pretty clear. Just let me get the saddle done again, okay?"
Toothless looked vaguely disappointed, but nodded.
"Now, what we need to do is work out how to use these things to our advantage - and for a laugh. What do you say to having a bit of fun with Dragon Training tomorrow?"
Toothless looked at his rider, and after a second, evil grins spread across both faces.
"And today's dragon, the Gronckle."
"Wait," Snotlout asked nervously, "aren't you going to teach us first?"
Gobber grinned. "I believe in learning on the job."
He opened the door, and Toothless shot out, made a bee-line for Hiccup, and glomped him.
Gobber dropped his arm.
"Hey, Gobber," Hiccup gasped around Toothless' relentless licks, "I think this one's a lot nicer than a Gronckle for the first lesson, anyway. What kind of Dragon 'licks it's victims'?"
"I've had it with this Dragon Training. I defect!"
Hiccup jumped over the cliff and disappeared in a black blur - which slowed and gave a flyby, letting them all see the Night Fury in all his glory.
Of course, Toothless promptly blasted the entire training ring roof apart, blew the doors open, and generally ruined it for everyone else.
Hiccup laughed aloud as the Green Death rampaged over Berk after a particularly trying early loop's bullying.
"Still think that riding dragons is a useless thing to think about, huh?"
Unnoticed by the Anchor, Toothless was watching these events with a contemplative eye.
"Wow, this loop sucks, huh?"
Toothless, at about five inches long and actually lacking any teeth - or real use apart from as a distraction - nodded glumly.
"Hopefully there's no Green Death here..."
The Nightmare crawled up the tower, the fire surrounding it ignited the planks as it crawled on them. Stoic the vast gripped his hammer.
"I'll take care of this!"
But before he could attack a whistling sound filled the air, along with the cry of "Night Fury! Get down!''
The nightmare gave him a look that could only be described as a smirk, just before the blue fireball blasted it from the tower. Stoic was dumbfounded.
"What in Odin's Name?"
A black blur sped past him a and familiar voice shouted "Hi dad, explain later!"
Hiccup and Toothless watched in awe as the village burned.
The red death sent another sheet of flame onto the village, yet again destroying the recently – built houses of the Vikings, melting their axes and lightly roasting their sheep. And their right socks.
Astrid from her seat on the back of the mighty Red Death laughed, screaming "You will fear me! You will ALL fear me!"
Hiccup turned to Toothless and said, simply:
"I blame you for this."
Hiccup, of Ista weyr, stood apprehensively on the hatching ground as the humming of the Ista dragons intensified.
It was clear what was going on, and the memories of his early life in the loop left no doubt that if Toothless was here as well, which seemed likely, he was going to have to find him soon.
His only problem was that, apart from knowing him to be black, unlike the other dragon colours in this loop, he had no idea how to. He had never seen a Night Fury egg, and there was competition of sorts here as well. He recognized the other trainees from Berk all present, seemingly not aware of the loops as there was no sudden 'what the hell is going on here' from any of them, and this was as unlike Berk in setting as you could get - volcanically heated soft sand, four-foot dragon eggs lying on the sand, near the equator-
He broke off that thought as the hopefuls began moving forward under the watchful gaze of the Ista queen, and he followed hastily, not wanting to miss his chance.
Most of the shells had broken now, with Astrid, lucky as she was, Impressing the Queen egg, and the other trainees getting one each of Bronze, Brown, and Blue and Green for the twins.
'At least they'll be easy to tell apart this time around,' thought Hiccup sardonically, before hearing the sound of cracking shell in front of him.
Crouching, his heart raced. 'Oh, please let this be...'
The egg cracked perfectly down the middle and a hatchling - black, oh thank goodness, black - tumbled out and almost instantly locked eyes with him.
His last thought before their shared awareness, the feeling of a bond so strong that both halves lived and died willingly as one, swept him away into euphoria was the sardonic:
Well, that makes us Toothleth and H'cup, then, with the local naming conventions.
That it does, Rider.
"So... any weapon, right? I mean, we can use a weapon that's not on this rack in Dragon Training, yes?"
"Aye... so what's your choice, Hiccup? Not another weird catapult thing?"
"No, but sort of related. Go ahead, release the Gronckle."
"Right. Now, what's the first thing you need to fight a Dragon?"
"Artillery support. Fire!"
The buzzing of the Gronckle was terminated abruptly in a huge explosion, and bits of Gronckle rained down around the training arena.
"What? I checked, and nowhere does it say you can't take out a dragon with another dragon. Granted, they were probably thinking in terms of using one as a club, but... Bye!"
And with that, the looping duo went between and emerged in the cove before they burst out laughing.
"Well, this is certainly an interesting diversion from normal!"
"This is something I'll have to look into more! I mean, drawing as a way of producing magic - I love this! You're just bitter because you're having to use something smaller than a tree to draw with. And carry me on your nose."
"Come on! I know this is a silent protagonist type deal, but can you at least pretend to communicate with me? I mean, I'm a Poncle at the moment."
"Look, you're supposed to be the sun god in this loop, not some kind of personification of raw moping. And for the record, I'm being in character. Issun is a very annoying person, and far be it from me to deny you the full Amaterasu exper-"
"... I'll be good."
Toothlegami skidded to a halt at the edge of the collapsed walkway.
"Aren't you going to go down there?" Hiccup asked from his place on the god's nose.
In reply, the Sun God flicked his tail at the ruin, it becoming instantly whole again with but a movement of the Celestial Brush.
Hiccup squinted. "Huh. Restoration, never thought of that. Nice work, toothieEEK!"
The Poncle went flying into the blackness below the stairs. Toothlegami shook his head with a snort, and, flaring his wings to their fullest extent, flew on up to Orochi's lair.
"The time has come! O sacred moon of the heavens, come forth and pierce this darkness! Bear witness to the beast's demise upon my trusty sword Tohenboku!"
Susanoo blinked. Hang on. There was something missing.
"Hey, lizard! Where's the demon Orochi?"
Toothlegami looked smug. A voice came from the ground, where a small green dot could just be made out.
"The great, powerful and insufferably smug sun god Toothlegami defeated him half an hour ago."
Down in the catacombs of Moon Island, Moegami fluffed his feathers and went back to staring at the wall.
"So bored… so very, very bored… why am I even a separate god, anyway?"
Nine-tails revealed herself in all her haughty splendour, and roared her defiance at the Sun God…
Who set her on fire.
Hiccup lounged back on one of Toothlegami's shoulder flares and enjoyed the sight of the Ruler of Oni island running frantically in circles, trying to extinguish herself. "So. Turns out all that fur wasn't such a good fashion choice anyway. And-" a splash. "Ooh, there she goes into the lava lake."
The demonic duchess screamed high and loud. "Why is there lava on the top floor of a palace?"
"Don't ask us, Toothie here flew over it."
The empress appeared in the crystal ball. "I suppose, then, that most of the challenging tasks you face are made much easier by the God's powers of flight?
"Yeah, strange that."
Kabegami yowled, bored, on top of his enormous tower.
"Now, we have a race through the forest of-"
Toothlegami took off.
"You know, for a God you're not very sporting!"
"Ooh, look! Your future/past self!"
Toothlegami looked appraisingly at the divine form before him.
It wasn't really very different at all.
"Watch out for the Loop in Lina Inverse's universe. It's a doozy."
Toothlegami nodded amicably. "Thanks for the tip."
The robotic sphere of Yami, the Dark God, ominously howled with static and began to unfold, bristling with weapons in defence of its' master.
Toothlegami ate the fish.
After a pause as the universe checked its' error handling conditions, Yami vanished.
Down in Nippon, Hiccup flashed a grin at the sky. "Not bad, big guy. Though if you'd actually waited until I could do the brushwork that would have been nice."
Hiccup Horrendous Haddock... 3 points.
"Oh, come on! I got the egg, didn't I? Get the golden egg, protect the others, that was the point, right?"
"You blew up a Hungarian Horntail! For goodness' sake!"
Sheesh. Not like there were rules against using your familiar in the Triwizard Tournament, and fighting enormous dragons was sort of something that Hiccup was actually good at, after all.
Not his fault nobody had noticed that Toothless had been under a shrinking charm for three and a half years.
"Fine... I'll make it up on the second task."
Any plans for next time, Rider?
Not really decided yet, dear heart. Dragonese negotiations, use between jumps again, or you could just learn that nifty mind control trick the Green Death does and order the Horntail to sod off.
Don't you think we're overdoing it, teleporting all over the place to solve all our problems?
Not at all! The time to worry is if you use mind control to solve all your problems, like Sasuke. Unless you want to spend an hour at the bottom of a lake in February. Not that this is quite as cold as Berk, but...
Fine, fine. So we teleport both ways, then?
Yes. Let's see them mark me down when the second task takes me three minutes or less.
"Three, two, one... Go!"
Ludo blasted on his whistle and the competitors were off.
Apart from Hiccup, that was. He was just getting on to his familiar, at the enlarged size, and - taking off? Did he even know what the task was?
Then the duo disappeared.
Fifteen seconds later they were back, soaking wet, with Astrid Hofferson clutched in the paws of the dragon.
Hiccup smirked, as Toothless started drying them off with carefully measured fireballs.
"That more to your liking?"
You know, call me an idiot, but we haven't even started destroying the Horcruxes. Shouldn't we?
Come on, Toothless, we can screw over his resurrection ritual as it is by just jumping straight back to Hogwarts. "Blood of the - damnit." Besides, any of them we take out before number seven - me - is a bit premature, as I'm fairly certain Dragonfire is as good as Basilisk venom, and we need to do the lot to take him out.
Bit hard for the bastard to come back if I've digested him...
"That student of yours is amazing. How did he achieve Bankai so fast?"
"Well, I was planning on using the forced materialization dummy to get him to be able to subdue his spirit, but it wasn't really necessary. As soon as the spirit materialized it... glomped... him. Now he's got it released all the time, and his control's really improving from walking around in permanent Bankai without levelling Sereitei or running out of energy. I did ask him how come he's so good with the sword, though, for a former human, and he mentioned something about 'bloody loops where Toothless is tiny only being good for one thing'* and refused to elaborate."
"So do you think he can complete the objective of the Rescue Rukia mission?"
"I asked, and he mentioned 'really sort of abusing that power, but it's too convenient to resist' and assured me that if he's alerted bare seconds before we need him, it'll be enough".
"Allow me to be the first to say that he somehow scares me. Maybe it's his friend..."
"You mean the nutcase with a spirit axe, the nutcase Quincy who throws spirit axes, the nutcase twins who beat up each other and the enemy with superpowerful punches, or the huge guy with a hammer?"
"... Remind me again why we need to rely on them?"
"Because we are lazy and have lost the instruction manuals for our Bankai or, in my case, my sword."
"So tell me again what happened?"
"He saw the nazgúl, whistled, and some strange black dragon came out of nowhere and shot down their fell beasts."
"Well, looks like more than his bow - skills qualify him for the Rangers, then, even if he's the clumsiest we've ever had."
An ominous corona of dark purple light sporting two flicking tails surrounded the demon container from Konoha. His green eyes developed slits, his body hunched down, and great wings of pure chakra formed from his back...
And he jumped into the ocean.
"Sensei, what the hell was that?"
"That is the instinctive behaviour of the Two Tailed Demon Dragon. Apparently it attacked the village because of a rumour of fresh cod. In large quantities."
"So how are we supposed to beat this Amachi guy now?"
"Just wait until he uses his fish form, and then the problem will be solved."
"Beard of Thor! What is that!"
The vast form of the queen of the dragons' nest erupted from the ground in front of the Vikings, and roared defiance at the air and at the puny Vikings standing in front of it. How dare they!
"That, Dad, Gobber, is the Green Death."
The Viking chief and his entire raiding party swung round to look at Hiccup, sitting nonchalantly on the rocks by the shore, the brief sight of a metal cylinder at his side hinting to any who knew of the loops how he'd got the dragon next to him out of the cruel chains and cage.
Toothless turned to Hiccup and gave a single honk.
"What? Red Death? That makes no sense! There's hardly any red on it at all! Why call it the Red Death when it is clearly not red?"
"Okay, so there's not much green either, but come on! There's got to be some sort of logic to all this or there's no way to tell what's even going on. I mean, all the other named make at least some sense, right?"
Toothless just looked at Hiccup silently.
"Fine, so Gronckle makes very little sense as a name, or Deadly Nadder, or even Terrible Terror. But it's the principle of the thing!"
Toothless and Hiccup looked contemplatively at the Queen, who was currently in the same mode of thought as the Vikings; that things were far outside the accepted norm in this situation.
"There's a lot of yellow."
Toothless let out a sigh and gestured with his tail, muttering something in a series of rawrs and honks.
"No, I will not give in to this peer pressure! You want it to be called the Blue Death, then go ahead, but that's not what I'm going to call it. I personally think it should be called the Freaky Death if anything. I mean, six eyes? That's not right."
The Queen rose up to her full enormous height and inhaled monstrously, preparing to obliterate this affront to her regal dignity.
Peyow - BOOOOOOM!
Hiccup scratched Toothless' head affectionately as if nothing had happened as bits of Freaky Death rained down around them.
"Right, off for tea, Toothless? I think I have some extra cod ready for toni-!"
Toothless broke with the calm demeanour he'd shown for the entire proceedings and practically threw Hiccup into the saddle, setting off into the air and between in a heartbeat.
"What have you been teaching my son, and can I sign up?"
"See! I told you! Always the left ones!"
Hiccup and Toothless looked on with identical expressions of slack disbelief. Almost thirty of what could, in all honesty, only be called trolls were visible in the back of the cave, behind the large mound at the entrance.
A mound formed entirely of thousands of left socks.
"Well, Toothless, we have two choices here. Either we go back to Berk and inform Dad that Gobber has been right all along, trolls exist, they steal your left socks, and they appear to be completely bonkers, or-"
Toothless cut short the conversation by flapping his wings, sending the socks into the cave, and spitting a small fireball at them.
Vikings are smelly. Their socks are even more so. Half a ton of Viking socks is also classified as "a large, hair trigger bomb".
Hiccup regretted that Gobber would still appear slightly crazy, but that was better than carrying evidence back to Berk.
"Okay, boy, we never speak of this, right?"
Stoic the vast watched in slack - jawed disbelief as his son - his short, unremarkable, clumsy son - cheerfully walked into Berk, nonchalantly clutching a leash in his right hand.
On the other end of the leash was a twenty foot, black-scaled, bewinged monster.
"HICCUP! What in the name of Thor is that... that... thing!"
Hiccup glanced to his right at Toothless, who had sat back on his haunches as the pair stopped moving at the shout.
"This, dad, is - if you'll let me have him - my new pet. He followed me halfway home before I decided I may as well see if he tolerates a leash, and he didn't complain one bit."
"That's not what I mean, son. WHY do you have a dragon in the village?"
Hiccup once more looked at Toothless, before adopting a confused expression.
"Dragon? He's not a dragon. Trust me, I checked. Nothing close to him in the Dragon Manual. I think he's some sort of winged salamander or something."
Stoic glowered at the 'winged salamander'. True, it wasn't displaying any dragonish traits, like going for the kill, or ruthlessly attacking any human within arm's reach. The boy was even right - no illustration in the manual matched.
In fact, Loki take him for a practical joke, but as he looked on Toothless - now chasing butterflies - Stoic could only describe him as... cute.
'I wonder when it turned into him', he thought to himself, before shaking off the thought.
"Be that as it may, Hiccup, I can't let... can't let you... "
Toothless was now essentially begging like an eager dog, paws up, eyes in full puppy mode, letting out a plaintive whine...
Oh, it's too early in the morning for this.
"Make sure he doesn't eat everything in sight, and you're responsible for his behaviour! Outside only on a leash, housebroken, doesn't knock anything over..."
"Great!" Hiccup had perked up at the words. "Thanks, dad!"
And the two were off to the Haddock's house before Stoic was done talking.
"Stop the fight!"
"No, Dad, I need you to see this."
Okay, Toothless, here's your cue.
Suddenly the Kill Ring was flooded with light in a kaleidoscope of different colours from Nadders shining beams of sunlight from shields through their wings. Several hundred Terrors started going into an elaborate three - dimensional series of gyrations. The Gronckles formed a chorus line, providing the supporting dance along with the Terrors, and a half dozen extremely rare dragons - a Thunderdrum, a Boneknapper, and a few more bizarre still - formed a band and started playing very high quality music. Two - or four - Zipplebacks began producing the "stage mist" and above it all a Night Fury flew in lazy circles, most of his attention on controlling the swarm of dragons below, but occasionally providing firework displays as a counterpoint to the Gronckles doing the same thing.
The Monstrous Nightmare in the centre of the ring dropped its' wary attitude and began dancing along with the small human who had - once again - failed the "first kill" test.
Never quite this spectacularly, though.
The two - with Hiccup on vocals - had got through "I'd rather be different", "Through the Fire and Flames" (using the unique talents of the Nightmare to provide said fire and flames, and the odd Heavenly Spin defence from Hiccup to produce a blue flash that drove away the explosion from the Zippleback 'stage mist') and the instrumental "Firebird" from the musical of the same name and were halfway through "Sticks and Stones" before anyone in the audience was over their shock.
Fortunately, the first to do so was Astrid, who waited out that song and then - having decided Hiccup's plan to avoid having to kill a dragon was essentially to confuse everyone so much they forgot - took her turn, with "Happily Ever After" (her having asked for "anything", Toothless fed her the lyrics via Bluebell with the remainder of his free brainpower.)
Hiccup had been surprised that both of them were "awake" at last - especially as the previous Loop had been another one on Pern and the pair had the shared telepathy right off the bat - and had completely forgotten to let her know the plan for today, but she coped admirably, and the two were through another three songs (including "Light My Fire" and the duet of "Guide you home") before Stoic finally unfroze and the two had to escape via Nightmare.
The next day, Gobber had approached Hiccup (the village was essentially pretending nothing had happened - it seemed rather more like a dream than reality, and nobody wanted to find out it had been, in fact, a completely nuts dream of their own) and asked for a request.
The Viking tribe of the Strong Noses were invading Berk, and the defenders were sadly outnumbered by the Vikings from the more southerly tribe. Hiccup realized that there was no real way that his Dad and the other Hooligans were going to be able to defend the town. At least, not without help...
"Hey, Terrors. Attack only the Vikings from the ships and you each get a fish."
"Fish? Each! Deal, Dragon - speaker!"
Stoic the vast was tiring - even he, the chief of the tribe - as he defended the main route through Berk against the invading Noses. Knowing that he had little hope of survival even if the Noses were driven off now, as they were more vulnerable to dragon attack than ever before with no catapults left, he gritted his teeth, set his stance, and prepared to go down fighting.
Then he saw his son - what was his beloved if pathetic son doing out here! - dash past, with a swirl of colour all around the lower two thirds of his body. Hiccup stopped for a few seconds and made a sweeping gesture towards one of the knots of Strong Nose Vikings.
Stoic the vast watched in shock as around fifty Terrible Terrors descended on the indicated Vikings and reduced them to panicking wrecks in seconds.
Hiccup, who had never before been anything like graceful, was almost dancing as he directed the scores of Terrors towards the enemy and meticulously shredded their attack with his keen mind and flying piranha.
Finally, when the Noses had fled the island - rather go to Hel for eternity for fleeing battle than face that hideous swarm again - Hiccup slipped from the poised stance he had been in to a more normal, casual one, and looked up at his Father.
"Okay, so I used Dragons. Big deal, it worked. And be honest, that was pretty cool, right?"
Hiccup knew it was a bonding procedure many dragons did, but that didn't make him feel any better - he knew it was just a way for the dragon to gauge your trust. But when the - let's say Yellow - Death opened its mouth and a half whale, a large number of fish and a rather confused Gronckle slid out he had to admit that he was a little apprehensive. The puppyish expression of joy it was wearing wasn't helping. He turned to Toothless.
"You think of a way out of this."
Hiccup and Toothless watched in awe as the village was destroyed.
The Yellow Death rampaged amongst the buildings of the village, smashing them aside with its' enormous bashing tail. The houses were being reduced to matchsticks, which was at least a nice change.
Spitelout laughed, a deep, booming sound, as he visited his pent - up wrath on the village for the fact that his son had not been chosen as heir due to the far less Viking Hiccup.
Hiccup turned to Toothless and said, sheepishly, '' Okay, maybe this one is my fault a little bit."
"That sword of yours, brat... it has interesting abilities, I'll grant you that, but did you really think you could stand up to a captain?"
"Oh, trust you people to insult while pretending to pay a compliment. And my sword, Kyouran, has interesting abilities, but its' shikai isn't really complete. It's a sniper's weapon, with speed boosts, camouflage and a ranged attack - but that's not my style. Not quite. It all fits together much better - I'll fight you much better - at a higher level."
"Watch your mouth! You make it sound as if you've already achieved..."
Byakuya Kuchiki stepped back from the ryoka. 'Impossible!'
"My final release only grants one extra power. Flight. Bankai!"
As the smoke whipped up by the transformation cleared, Byakuya saw... nothing.
Then a horrible screech rent the air, and an azure bolt of fire, far larger than the ryoka's shikai could manage, ripped into the shield of blossom the Kuchiki clan head had barely reestablished in time.
"Kyouran no Yoru, my Bankai. Do you want to continue, and find out just how much my speed boost is amplified by the final release?"
"You may be fast, brat," called Byakuya to the now empty air, "but I trained under the goddess of flash steps herself, Yoruichi Shihoin!
The reply drifted back out of the clear sky. "That's as may be, but you forget something. So did I!"
The invader, seen for a split second atop a great, sleek black dragon, launched four fireballs in quick succession, moving so fast that the four hit from completely different directions at the same time.
Byakuya considered his situation, and made the decision.
Well, Hiccup thought wryly as the thousand swords began to form their cylinder in the second stage of Byakuya's Bankai, at least he's already being rather more serious than he'd probably like. Now, where's that firestone?
It was time to see if those swords could be shattered without the command from Byakuya.
"It's working! It's working! I've got a dragon!" called the Professor, his portal having caught the signature of a dragon transiting between worlds and pulled it to Glimmer.
The dragon that emerged from the portal was about four feet in length, jet black, with proportionately huge wings and intelligent green eyes.
"You're a dragon?" asked Hunter, the cheetah's expectations having been more in line with a thirty foot monstrosity than this small creature.
Toothless shrugged, before a fireball shot across the nearby field and destroyed the portal back to the dragon realms.
Three seconds later Crush and Gulp had been exploded and Ripto was fleeing desperately from the vengeful dragon, who had concluded that:
-Hiccup hasn't said to stop.
The professor picked himself up off the ground, and Elora commented: "Well, that worked. Though we'd better be ready to send him back soon - I doubt we want to know what he's like when he's impatient."
Toothless stared at the cheetah flatly.
"Come on, you need to learn how to glide, right?"
The Night Fury launched himself ten feet into the air in a single, lithe leap and completed the entire course before landing, then taking off again and hovering to make extra clear the point that, as a fairly mature dragon, he. Could. FLY!
Toothless walked out of the portal in disgust. Always with the rules, or the complaints.
'Got to use a skateboard.'
'Can't just shoot down the UFO, have to run away from it.'
'It doesn't count as winning the race if you set fire to all the other competitors and steal the prize.'
'No, the talking kangaroo, flying penguin, smart yeti and insane monkey are neither mutants nor evil.'
'Jumping puzzles are for jumping over, not flying or blowing up.'
'Please, when we say to save us from the sorceress, we rather hoped you'd sort out the mess she left of our worlds rather than just blowing her up and partying the rest of your time here.'
'Stop making our powerups look bad.'
'Please stop, we're running out of sheep.'
Oh well, at least he got the unique experience of being able to beat up an annoying bear and have shiny things come out! That was a first.
And how did that bear convince him to buy all those bridges anyway?
"Interesting. Your Hollow side, like your Zanpakuto spirit, is a dragon. In fact, so is your Tailed Beast mode from Naruto's universe, your Jusyenko cursed form, your Nekoken analogue, your Animagus form and your Patronus. I'm more concerned about the fact that they're the same dragon... and apparently fighting over you in your subconscious."
"Okay. That explains the headache. Thanks, Ranma. Now, I need vast amounts of fish and that book on how to speak dragonese."
The Viking Anchor playing the part of a marine in an Avatar body was crouched over a rock outcrop on Iknimaya, and took a moment to ponder the progress so far on this rather bizarre loop.
He spent most of the time drawing when not going through a punishing regime of physical training, learning about Pandora and reporting on the progress made in same to the scientists. The entire planet was spectacular, by day or night, and several sketchbooks' worth were full from the time in each body - the pocket universe trick apparently transferring things over from Human to Avatar. His main regret there was that the art could not capture the majesty of a planet where everything was bioluminescent. Maybe using some sort of computer sketchpad he could come close-
"Hey, Hik'ku! Come on, this isn't something you can just ignore - all the People have done this by the time they're true warriors!"
Ah. Astyrid. He was fairly certain that wasn't the original name of that particular individual in this loop, and suspected from her behaviour that she was in fact Awake as he was, but couldn't quite prove it.
In general, though, this loop was something of a paradise. He was fast, tough, strong - and people were expecting him to be good at observing things! That alone was a welcome relief from Berk.
About the only problem was that Toothless hadn't shown up yet, but that was most likely about to be rectified, given where they were.
"And how do I tell if it's the right one?"
"Then," Astyrid said, her eyes laughing, "He will try to kill you."
"Great. Pain. Love it!"
At her familiar reaction to the words, he grinned. Finally! He then stepped forward, looking for the Ikran that was just that little bit different...
He boldly stepped over to the black Ikran, and in one smooth motion, leapt astride its' back from behind and linked with it.
Well, this is different. Talk about a new perspective on things. Do I really look like that from between the ears?
I suppose there's only supposed to be one partner with a consciousness, dear heart. But why hide up here? Why wait?
Have you any idea how funny it was to watch you scrambling up that path?
I wouldn't deign to think about something only your exalted draconicness could observe.
No, sarcastic. Though sometimes with you there's no difference...
"You know, I wonder if you're technically an Ikran this time around. I mean you sort of look like one, but something tells me you're not as big as you could be yet."
Anything's possible. And I have it on good authority that I am, in fact, 'Really, really scary' in the opinion of the Ikran that I was with when you found me. In fact, I suspect I might be the apex air predator. Again. One of these days I might like not being the most dangerous thing around.
"Be careful what you wish for."
Hiccup's human body (with Rebreather) and Toothless were idly chatting on the floating mountain, near Grace's lab. She, for her part, was fascinated that the Ikran bond apparently went with the mind between the Avatar and the human body. If only she knew what it took to get this far...
I'm serious. Think what could be done from a position with hands.
"You can have hands anytime you want now, you've got lycanthropic powers as far as I recall. Did those follow you?
Not sure, don't care. I want to be the hero one of these times.
"And the loop where you saved three or four entire landmasses from Gnorcs, Riptocs, Rhynocs, Earthshapers, mad wizards, psycho ducks and farmyard animals?"
Okay, the underdog hero.
Grace ran over, her expression tight with worry.
"They're planning on blowing up the Na'vi Hometree. We've got to do something!"
"Okay. I think I can handle this."
Always with the I.
Hiccup glanced at Toothless. "Okay, we can handle this."
The air fleet didn't do very well in its' attempt to blow up Hometree. Ikran riders were fairly effective once warned, and when Toothless grabbed the gunship and treated the entire crew to thirty seconds of total sensory deprivation between, even the Major was quick to surrender. The situation on Pandora then suffered an outbreak of sanity as the Tribes agreed to find as much of the valuable mineral as they could in non sacred sites, in return for human assistance in getting themselves recognized as sentient equals and Pandora declared a nature reserve.
Hiccup stood on the heaving deck of the frigate, shaking his head slightly as the memories from this new Loop slid into his mind.
Apparently he was some sort of naval officer, and, moreover, this right in front of him was a dragon egg, one about to hatch, which meant once more the old routine of bonding with his first true friend.
'Well, at least I'm used to it, unlike the original from this particular loop. Are dragons really that looked down upon, for all their importance?'
Looking over it with an appraising eye, his first conclusion was that it was larger than normal, for Toothless at any rate.
Any further consideration was cut off as the egg began to hatch, and a familiar black snout emerged, followed by the rest of Toothless. He already looked to be at half - growth, so how big was he going to get?
"Hello. Are you the French? I seem to remember being around a lot of French speakers that last few months in the egg."
Hiccup found his voice just in time to reply.
"No, we are in fact the crew of an English frigate, one that I myself captain, and I suppose that, technically, your egg was a war - prize from the capture of the French sloop carrying you to your destination - though we would not do you the injustice of suggesting you yourself are our prize, and merely wish that you would decide as you see fit.
Fooled you there, didn't I, Rider? Never seen anyone scramble for a diplomatic reply as hurriedly. Nice work getting your own memories across, though. And yes, this time I can actually talk.
"Well, you seem like a nice chap. I suppose I could get to like you - that is," and here, Toothless' eyes narrowed, though there was an undercurrent of mirth beneath the pleading tone his voice adopted, "if you have some fish for me?"
"I would not dream of approaching a hungry dragon - for newly hatched dragons must assuredly be hungry - with anything less than a lot of fish, rest assured."
"I see you are well - prepared. That is good. I should like a fellow like you as a rider."
Hiccup understood that the idea was to appear to conform to the standard course of events in the loop, overly formal and such (not to mention making it obvious that Toothless had chosen him and him alone), but a part of him started wondering how long they would have to act like this before being casual with one another.
"Astrid? So you're here as well?"
"Yes, so's Bluebell, though she shoots acid now. Right nasty stuff, too, burns right through ships' hulls."
"So, anything you can tell me about this dragon arm of the military we seem to have joined?"
"Main jobs are message - carrying, though not for Toothless or Bluebell, they're both heavy combat types, then there's antiship work, my department, and taking out opposing dragons. If Toothless blows things up as well as he did back on Berk-"
"Or anywhere else he's been roughly the right size."
"True, but if he can shoot his usual fireballs, then he's a good antiship, and if he can with the same accuracy he might as well be a general combatant. Let me know your preference, and I'll sort it out - got to love turning up in a Loop as a commodore already. I can get you a good crew as well."
I'm not sure about this, Rider. Why do we need a crew?
So that we don't appear unusual. Besides, you're only at risk from other dragons anyway, and I won't be troubled by boarders - I still have Kyouran here, though I won't try Bankai. The initial release should be enough, I can't imagine why it wouldn't, and I don't want to confuse people - including you - if it works. What do you think would happen?
Good point. Well, I suppose if they don't make a fuss in a dive.
Dear heart, nobody alive could avoid being affected at least by you in a dive. I just hide it well.
The French dragons carried the second of the strange troopships to a gentle landing at Dover. Hiccup was furious - Astrid and the rest of the heavies were down at Gibraltar, Astrid refused to go between to help as that was completely impossible for the well - established breed her once and future Nadder was aping this Loop, and Toothless' breath weapon refused to awaken, if he even had one-
An unearthly screech sounded out, followed by a shouted "Hold on!" from Toothless, and every crewman checked their harnesses as Toothless went into a power dive.
Faster than normal, actually. Faster, in fact, than should have been strictly possible. Was Toothless using something supernatural to help?
What are you doing?
I just remembered what I can do to destroy things without a breath weapon - I make it still a week before I get it, so no good now. Brace for sound barrier!
Hiccup paled. WHAT?
The huge, concussive, rippling boom that ripped over the French troops assembling in the small cleared area around their three currently landed troopships - and over the British militia trying to contain them, and the townsfolk, and the French dragons in the supporting units - drew their eyes to the sky - but too late. By the time they heard it, it was over - at least the bit nearest to them, but the rest was still going, and they watched in awe as a lone British black dragon blasted past the French carriers, the black moving so fast that the wind of the passage shattered the troopships like eggshells and disgorged several thousand French soldiers into the channel, where they would surrender to the picket fleet or drown.
The French dragons and their crews, closest to the travel path, swore they heard a dozen screams and one loud complaint dopplered into near inaudible shrieks/rumbles as the black shape shot past.
When he reached the staging area, Toothless flattened the entire French army waiting to move into the transports with the enormous blast of wind, and flew lazily back to Dover with the satisfaction of a job well done - though the effect was slightly ruined when half his crew swore never to leave solid ground again.
Well, in my defence, you really asked for this one.
"Shut it, you, I still haven't got used to this."
Walking on two legs? Not that tricky.
"You try living with the knowledge that Stoic would have called you 'Toothrot' to frighten off trolls."
Been living with 'Hiccup' for centuries, talk to the tail.
"Keep that up and I use your uncomfortable saddle designs from the first Loop!"
The villagers of Berk were in shock.
Hundreds of dragons hovered overhead, in broad daylight, brazenly flouting the normal order of things - and getting away with it, too, with no catapults manned.
What was even stranger, though, was that they were holding a precise, well-spaced formation, laid out mostly by species.
Groups of a dozen Terrors on the back of a Gronckle, with a Nadder in front, were laid out in a grid in the air, with a Nightmare in front of each set of three such groups and a Zippleback beside each of them, a Terror on the Nightmare' shoulder.
Nightmares wearing insignia - and the occasional adorned Nadder - were above each nine groups, occasionally staring pointedly at a dragon slightly out of formation in their sections until said dragon sheepishly corrected itself.
Near the back were a dozen each of Thunderdrums and Skauldrons, led by two Nightmares and a Boneknapper with an ornate catapult on the blanket across his flank.
In front of and below this aerial armada was a small group of six dragons, two Timberjacks and an unknown black that most assumed to be a Night Fury, each with a Terror sitting in a comfortable position about their persons and the most impressive filigree of all the present dragons.
The Fury and his retinue landed in a clear space, and the black - clad Terror (and a couple noticed that the Terror was dressed and wearing insignia that suggested the position of Flag Lieutenant) pulled a scroll from a bag and fluttered slowly forward with it, passing it to Hiccup when he coolly strode from the crowd to take it.
Nodding his thanks to the Terror, he unrolled it and read aloud,
"TO Stoic the Vast, Chieftain of the Tribe of Hairy Hooligans of Berk, Master of the Northernmost Mark and Head of the clan Haddock, from Brigadier - General His Grace Toothless Kyouran, first of that name, Duke of North Haven, Knight Commander of the Order of Smaug the Red, Holder of the Star of Polaris, four campaign ribbons, OM, DSO and bar, DFC and two bars, greetings.
I wish to make you and your people an offer, one that I, at least, feel is one of benefit to us both and to the benefit of all those under our respective commands. Though I would not presume to offer you any information that is not readily apparent to you without giving you time to assimilate it, I am sure that you should already be aware that the current military and diplomatic situation between your nation and my own is... somewhat less than optimal, and it is my belief that this can be rectified in short order by the import of the main body of this missive.
To be blunt, I wish to defect, I and all my brigade - the first of flight - to the banner and flag of Berk. My reasons for doing this are at least partly private, but I can share with your counsel the main reason for my decision.
The commander of the Dragonarmies in this area of the North, over the course of recent decades, has become... unstable. She has become no longer the peacekeeper that is the purpose of our forces, but has gradually changed into a bloated tyrant, feeding off the work of others such as myself and my forces, and indeed your own farmers.
I am more sorry than I can express that the change was too gradual for me to notice, in my blindness, and put a stop to until, less than a week ago, I, personally, was fired upon from the ground by a complex bolas apparatus that came within an inch of removing one of my tail fins and destroying forever my ability to fly unassisted.
It has been said that the closeness of Death concentrates the mind wonderfully, and in that moment I fully recognized what I had become. Once a proud officer in the forces of world peace and order, I was now little more than a bandit robbing others of the product of their hard work. To this end, I asked the officers of my brigade to consider the same issue, and then the enlisted. Within the day, I had unanimous support for the manoeuvre you see before you know, sir, and I determined to do so before another week had passed.
And so, here we are. I will submit myself to your authority as Lord of these lands, but will ask that I retain command of my Brigade, to employ it in the pursuit of what objectives you may set me as I see fit.
Toothless Kyouran, Duke of etc. etc.
Hiccup rolled up the parchment and handed it back to the Terror, who accepted it, flew back to his superior, and replaced it with a flourish.
"So, Dad, what do you think? Good offer?"
The Fat Death was confused. Less food had arrived in the last two days than before. And the Night Fury was missing. What was going on?
She soon found out, as her massive nostrils detected the smell of Zippleback gas - a lot of Zippleback gas - and she barely had time to flare her wings and start to try to escape before the entire dormant volcano exploded and buried her under at least a quarter mile of heavy volcanic rock.
"I still think we should put a volcano - maybe with a yellow sunburst behind it on a field of black, representin' the darkness of her rule being erased by the glorious dawn of... er..."
"Stortlout, say what you mean. 'The glorious dawn of an entire volcano blowing up at two o'clock in the afternoon' is what you meant, no matter what you said. Now, my idea is to add the dragons. They were really the main reason we could do this, perhaps even add Hiccup - he and the Brigadier seem to get along well. Knew he was different - who'd have thought that machine I forbade him from using would have such an impact, eh? Now we're fine for winter, and-"
"What my son may have done, while flattering for me to hear about, is not related to the task at hand! No, Gobber, this needs to have Viking elements as well! Maybe some sort of axe-"
"Oh, it's always axes with you, Stoic!"
"Fine words coming from the man who replaced his arm with one!"
Hiccup turned from the sketchpad to look at the gigantic brawl shaping up in the hall, then aside to Toothless, who was laid on the floor.
"This is the third time they've had a brawl over the campaign badge. Wonder how they'd react to some of those grenade - epaulettes from Schlock's world."
Toothless shrugged. Meh.
"I'm telling you, Ami, something's off with Sailor Moon."
"Really, Rei? What let you know? That her main weapon is now an axe, or that her mooncat has turned into a dragon of some description, or perhaps that her standard battle style now involves chopping half of the Youma into fingernail - sized chunks and punting the other half into a decaying series of orbits?"
"No need to be like that."
"I'm personally more concerned by the fact that Tuxedo Mask hasn't shown up since Sailor Moon changed her demeanour. Who knows what he's doing?"
"Well, I've mainly been hiding from her."
"AAGH! Don't do that!"
"What?" Hiccup, replacing Tuxedo Mask, was genuinely confused. Wasn't the best thing to do when dealing with rampaging females to hide? They were, after all, often stronger than the men, and Astrid could now use more power per hit than the (Blue?) Death.
"Don't sneak up on us like thaaat!"
"Oh crap, I think she heard me... please say she didn't hear me..."
"No, but her pet seems to have-"
"Hello, Hiccup! Now come here, and I'll pay you back for dropping me last time we flew back at Berk!"
"Toothless, you traitor! HEEEEEEEEEELP!"
The other senshi watched Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Moon charge off into the distance, Mask barely staying ahead of the huge impacts of the Moon Axe.
"Well... it could be a trial separation?"
"What, head from body? She isn't aiming to miss."
Toothless flared his wings, cancelling the upwards motion, then flipped into a hard dive towards the monstrous dragon on the shore. About halfway there, he pulled out of the dive and Hiccup jumped, letting the momentum of the dive add to gravity.
The Rider began concentrating chakra into his fist; it was the easiest such power to work with, but this would be a tricky one.
'Muscles, bones, skin, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, blood vessels, blood, fat, hair...', he ran through the mental checklist in his mind as he dropped towards the greatest dragon any Viking had seen in recent history.
'Now for the payoff', he thought, carefully twisting for the impact even as he felt Toothless circling nearby, ready to recover him afterwards.
Stoic the Vast watched in a disbelief that, had he known it, was becoming almost commonplace around Berk for the non – loopers, as Hiccup cried out and smashed his fist into the Queen.
The Queen was pushed not only hard into the beach, but through the top layers and into the bedrock a good few feet by the single impact. It was clear that it was permanently damaged, even had it survived.
Astrid turned to the chieftan of her tribe. "Yes, Chief Stoic?"
"You don't seem as surprised as anyone else. Tell me, have you seen him use this 'Falcon Punch' before? Him practicing it, perhaps?"
Astrid answered by pointing to the dragon she was riding, one that had been trying to kill her not three days ago - at least as far as the rest of the Hooligans knew. "He seems to make a habit of doing surprising things, and this is no different."
'Well... This is new.'
Hiccup was standing in the centre of a charred circle of grass, surrounded by every student at his new school.
Or rather, her new school. This sort of thing was just annoying.
"So, there are HiME with powers over elements, you think mine is fire, and each one has a CHILD that protects and helps them? That accurate?"
"Yes, though it's a bit more complicated than that..."
"Whatever. Now, how do these Children show up? Their own free will?"
"No, you summon them. Simply call their name."
"What kind of a name is-!"
The enormous phoenix dragon biomech materialized in a burst of flame, and hovered overhead. The air blurred as another school member activated her own power and masked the event on almost no notice.
"Hi, Toothless." Anything to say?
Thith Thord in my mouth really hurtth.
...why are you lisping?
Comedic effect. Now, what's the plan?
Basically, any battle, I summon you, you nuke the enemy.
Sounds good. It's really boring in that other reality where I wait.
The demonic Orphan stared down at Hiccup.
The Japanese Army approached the Academy.
A single squirrel stood in Hiccup's path.
The dragon/phoenix materialized and looked down.
Why are you terrified of squirrels?
A very traumatizing loop involving Jinchuuriki Doreen Green, Lina Uchiha, Astrid Haruno and myself as their Jonin - sensei. And Wade Wilson as Momochi Zabuza.
...ouch. Why didn't you get me to help?
That was the loop you slept off after nearly exploding trying to fight the Green Death with a single massive fireball.
You really need to clean this out sometime.
"Oh come on, it's not like there's too much stuff in there."
...Rider, there are entire spaceships in here. Toothless' head - currently about a foot long - appeared to pop out from inside Hiccup's coat, really using the Subspace Pocket Hiccup used to carry things between loops. All that was needed was that the hole in space not be apparent.
"Everything in there could be useful at some time or other."
Riight. Ornamental tea set from the Meiji period?
"Okay, I admit it, I'm a pack rat. Happy now?"
Cupxich, the number 7 Nobody in Organization XIII, really wondered about their naming procedure as he spun the chakram he'd materialized a minute ago on the end of his finger. This was really an interesting loop apart from that, though. True, he was on the villain's side, but then what else was new? That happened about one in three fused loops.
No, his main concerns now were why all this seemed familiar... and where was Toothless?
"Oh, good, you remember me this time. Good for you, I know what remembering things after a long time not being able to is like, done it myself.
Now, if you'll excuse me-" oh, crap, this better work, hope I was right "TOOTHLESS!"
A huge fiery being, shaped of blue flame and rather draconic, appeared in front of the replacement Flurry of Dancing Flames and began to give Roxas a lesson in why not to assume that your opponents aren't looping too.
"I was right! This is just like the HiME universe!"
Hiccup had only been in this world a few minutes and already he had met someone else who was Looping - the anchor for this universe, in fact - who seemed interested in meeting someone new to join them in this particular Loop.
"So you're an Anchor, too, I'm guessing? Hi, my name's Matsuki Takato, remember, the family name goes first, you don't look like your origin Loop was Japanese."
"Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the third, pleased to - oh, come on! Don't laugh, it's traditional where I come from for people to have names meant to be able to scare off trolls!"
Takato forced himself back into a standing position. "Trolls exist?"
"Yeah, they steal your left socks. I actually found them one loop. Never went within a mile of the place again. So, what's the gimmick of this Loop?"
"Heh, well, guess I'd better explain all the Digimon Linked Loops to you, as this is your first time in one. Right?"
"Sounds like it, never heard of a 'Digimon' before."
"Okay, there are four Looping universes in this thing, linked recognisably by the presence of a 'Digital World' as a side dimension parallel to the real and closely connected with the technology of Earth. In the first of the Loops (we call it the first because Taichi, their Anchor, was the first to Awaken) there is an incredibly strong time dilation factor at first, though that weakens later. The 'Digidestined' are humans - and, of course, the Anchor is one - who are linked by fate-"
"Yeah, yeah, I know, but do you have a better term? Anyway, they're linked with a Digimon, the thing that catalyses them through the inevitable transformation sequence. That's the case on all the Digimon Loops, though less so in the third. In the first Loop, the pair are usually linked to a single virtuous emotion, such as courage, sincerity or hope, that acts as the primary catalyst. The strongest such link is signified by a Crest with a symbol on it," - Takato pulled out something on the end of a lanyard that carried a symbol of three triangles facing away from a larger one -" that combines with the interfacing Digivice to allow the Digivolution."
"Is it me or are these people getting obsessed with the term 'Digi'?"
"Yeah, laugh it up, lanky. You don't know what it's like having a place like that as your home Loop, Taichi went mad for a while when he started. ANYWAY, the third one is distinct because the people in it can sometimes turn into Digimon instead. Let me tell you, the main Looper from that one is a creepy bastard now. Wants to have every form possible in his options, but he keeps getting Macross or Gundam fused loops, and can't get the forms he wants. Now the fourth, that one's a bit different. Raw emotion makes you and your partner more powerful there. Daimon Masaru, the Anchor, he's the scariest of the lot. He once used the basic form of his partner to destroy a God's full power state and then punched out it's dormant one so it died."
"So? I punched out a hill - sized dragon once."
"That was before he started looping. Seriously, he's the only person I've known who took a Gurren Lagann Loop completely in stride from day one."
Hiccup was lost for words for the next few minutes, as the two climbed up the factory complex, Takato seeming to know unerringly where they were going. As he should, it was his home Loop, after all.
"So, what's unique about this Loop version?"
"... card games, okay! We influence our partners through something hacked out of a card game, and never have I been more relieved than when I didn't need to swipe the cards anymore!"
"Woah. O-kay, sore point... Any other methods?"
Takato was calmer now. "Yeah, after a certain point emotions once more become significant instead. When you have a really strong link, so the two of you think as one being, you can Biomerge and - well, what do you think that means? We can all do it more or less at will now, but Rika is the only one who uses it outside combat as she's the only one with a form that looks remotely human. You should get it before the end of the main combat part of the Loop."
"Okay, I think I will based on that description. So where are we going, anyway?"
"This area is where my partner first appears each time. He sort of... came to life based on a drawing I did."
"Right, that's my excuse for this loop. I literally have a metric ton of full sketchbooks in my Subspace Pocket."
What was once a magical moment for boy and Digimon was now a meeting about as dull as someone getting up in the morning and meeting their roommate. Not as thrilling, thanks to the Loops. The locals were surprised at the actions of the new duo, though.
"Shouldn't the two of you be more... well, less open and unafraid? I mean, this is a creature you've never seen before -"
"Don't make me laugh, please. My home Loop, I'm a dragonrider. I can remember maybe six Loops with no Toothless present in any way and even then I have a dozen of him in my mindscape. No - thirteen now. Looks like it IS an empathic bond. And I'm good at those. Biomerge!"
The flare of a transformation sequence filled the small space in the pipes on the roof, as Hiccup demonstrated that yes, synchronising your thoughts with someone is easier if you've literally replaced him for a Loop.
The four inch Rookie and the teen had been replaced (predictably) by a large, black, Night Fury shaped Mega.
"What are you?"
"We refuse to think up a name that ends in 'mon', if that's what you're saying. Now, where are - got them. Astrid is with a 'Rika' and Fishlegs is with two called 'Kazu' and 'Kenta'."
"What? We've got to get them out of there! Astrid'll end up a bitchy psycho and Fishlegs'll be a complete nerd who views everything as a trading card game!"
Hiccup/Toothless looked at him, then rolled his eyes.
"Believe me, they won't 'end up' that way, they were already like that. Now, is there anywhere in the standard Loop for you guys that could be shortcutted with a teleporting, fire - breathing dragon?"
"Um, most of it, I think. The D-Reaper bit could be over in an hour."
"As you can see, this small fire was not enough even to get it warm. The Ring must be cast back into the fires of Mount Doom, whence it was made!"
"I can handle that. Toothless, " Toothless appeared in Bag End, knocking over the tables, "here, firestone. Now, torch that ring in the hearth, would you?"
A concentrated blast of Dragonfire heated the Ring in seconds until it was orange with heat, but Toothless stopped and expelled the rest of the Firestone breath out the window, carefully calibrated to knock over Fishlegs Gamgee.
"Okay, the slightly harder way, then, now that's proven to work if we need it. Mount Doom, Toothless, we're going dive-bombing."
The increasingly confused wizard watched as the black dragon vanished, taking the table, carpet, Ring and boy with it, before appearing again outside about a minute later and looking smug as a great light waxed in the south and east and a pressure was lifted from the minds of all free beings, one they had felt for so long they did not quite know it had ever not been there.
Gandalf's voice rang out. "Well, bollocks to that, then. I suppose you're going to blow up Harad next-"
"Great idea! Hey, boy, fancy going Oliphaunt hunting?"
Snotlout was thoroughly confused.
He remembered the dragon attack where Hiccup had claimed to have shot down a Night Fury, and then his cousin's gradual transformation from a pathetic scrap into... well, a more knowledgeable pathetic scrap. Then had come the Night Fury, the sailing of the fleet, the wonderful experience of flying on a dragon and the somewhat less enjoyable Green Death, Berk full of Dragons and several years more of growing up further, becoming as great a warrior as his father and finally becoming the right hand man of Hiccup, just as their fathers had been.
And now he was back at the dragon attack again, everything back to how it was those many years ago.
Was this some trick from Loki? Or a gift from the All-Father, so he could help Hiccup save his leg - maybe even, if he acted quickly, prevent Toothless from losing his tail fin, but that might mess things up even worse...
It was too tough for any Viking to deal with.
Maybe, based on that, he should just tell the man - boy, he was still a boy at the moment - and see what Hiccup decided. He still had about fifteen minutes before the important shot, so he had the time to let Hiccup think it through. Maybe he'd be able to go after putting out the fires...
After wasting several of those precious minutes on firefighting, he realized he only had a little time left. Based on his memory of the fight and what Hiccup had told him, Toothless flew around for a few minutes starting around now - wait a minute...
That was the Nightmare Stoic had smacked about with his hammer in his own stories! Snotlout began running the saga over in his mind. It was amazing, like watching the tale of Beowulf and the Dragon right there before his eyes.
But something was off. Sagas were Viking; short on plot, long on gory details, and he could swear that that hammer had struck more times than it should have, even more than the number of times Stoic had said it was on his most boozy nights.
So where was the screech, the boom, the great bolt of blue fire? Nowhere. In fact, the Nightmare was starting to look vaguely impatient between being used as an 'Executive toy' by the aptly named Stoic the Vast.
Screw it; he'd go ask Hiccup what he should do.
"Hi, uh, Hiccup?"
"I still say that if we use the red paint it has a measurable effect on the speed!"
"Gobber, that only works if you think it will. Nobody's going to fall for that."
"My apprentice of these many years, I would like to remind you of something very important. The people who are going to use this are Vikings. They believe in a lot of very silly things. Like that the best way to handle a clumsy, out of place, scrawny lad in a Viking village is to make him a blacksmith's apprentice!"
"... right, point taken, where's the crimson paint?"
"Hiccup! Can I ask you something, please?"
Hiccup looked round, having finally noticed him standing there. "Oh, hey, Snotlout, what's up?"
"I need to ask you something. Something... important. Private."
"Okay. Hey, Gobber! Can you go off and hit some Nadders with a hammer for a bit, please?"
"Okay, Hiccup." The blacksmith switched his 'work hammer' for a 'battle hammer' and stumped over to the door. Turning, he demanded, "Stay put. There, preferably, though anywhere you don't burn down the island is good."
"That was one time!"
"Really? I counted at least three."
Hiccup turned from the door before smiling nervously at Snotlout. "So, what was it?"
"Hiccup," Snotlout was unusually serious, "Would you be willing to become accepted by the village and a hero if it meant losing your leg?"
Hiccup stared at him in shock for a moment, before shaking his hand in a vice-grip. "Snotlout! You're finally Awake! Is this the first time round again for you?"
"Er, what? You know about this stuff?"
"Yeah, so I presume this is your first time back, right?" At the larger teen's nod he continued, enthusiastically, "Great! It took eight Loops for Gobber to admit to us he was in them!"
"Really, so he thought he was the only one too? Classic! What set it off?"
"He became suspicious that we were Looping as well when we showed up as pirates to the first training day. All of us - well, all of us in the Loops. Me, First Mate Astrid, Gunnery Officer Fishlegs and Steersman Toothless, and Bluebell joined in as a very large parrot. When Fishlegs' Buzzard was let out - I think Gobber was basically on autopilot then - he landed next to him and the two 'fired a broadside' and blew the training dome up."
"Hah! Awesome. So... Toothless... He remembers you?"
"Everyone after Toothless started remembering who joined did so as a Dragon and Human pair. We're actually running out of genuinely scary and non - partnered dragons to scare the twins with, so Toothless has to repaint himself a lot. We actually fit the Big Death in one of the doors once, they - and, uh, you - ran off the cliff and Toothless and Bluebell saved you. Now, Gobber has a plan for later this Loop that I like the sound of. Beating the Death with a mechanical version of itself."
"Sounds fun, so that's what you were arguing about?"
Hiccup watched with resignation as the Village burned. Next to him, Sparklout, Snotlout and Toothless made the appropriate 'Ooh' and 'Aah' sounds as the Big Red Stompa of Death pulverized Berk with explosives, fire, particle cannons and sheer weight.
Hiccup turned to Toothless and Snotlout.
"I blame the two of you for this, you encouraged him!"
"Very well, Bosun, please get those reports to me by the end of the next standard day."
"Of course, Captain."
Hiccup Harrington, Commander in Her Majesty's Royal Manticoran Navy and Master and Commander of HMS Fearless (and currently senior officer on Basilisk Station through no fault of his own), sighed with relief as the last appointment of the day left the cabin. Adapting to being a naval officer was hard, even if he'd been one - or something similar - in "Temeraire" loops a couple of times. Nothing had been quite so weird then as a British Dragoncorps Captain and a Celestial showing up on Berk, though. They'd mislabelled him as a Thunderdrum for days...
"Okay, Toothless, that seems to be everything. Now, why have you been in a snit for the entire Loop thus far?"
I don't get to fly.
"I know, I can feel it through the link. Speaking of which, is it me or are you getting other people's emotions as well as a Treecat?"
Yes. In fact, what I remember from that vast fiction stockpile you grabbed in the Trek Loop about this one is that that empathy will eventually bleed over to you as well. That, and you need to be a really spectacular Captain/Admiral further down the line.
"Actually, I have an idea about that... Now, there are several consolations, including the big one. You have opposable thumbs now, more than me in fact."
Bah. And, based on that idea I just got a sense of? You have one nice ideas machine in your brain.
"...That's a weird way of putting it."
Blame knowing Ayanami. Or Shan Pu. Luna Lovegood? Someone must have corrupted me.
"I'm telling you, there's something weird about him."
"What, the 'Salamander'? Of course there is. He brings people home when nobody else could!"
"No, seriously. Everyone who's ever served under him in combat knows it, even if none of them normally mention it. Like everything they do is perfect when he's in command. Like everyone knows what everyone else is doing."
"Pshah, that's probably mostly propaganda. The Conservative Association never liked him, and since he managed every 'Let's kill off the Salamander' mission they send him on they're trying to get to him politically instead. That duel was bad enough, but they can't attack someone who's a Count and a foreign head of state openly."
Manticore's Gift accelerated out of Grayson orbit, flanked by the five other SDs of the Grayson Home Fleet and screened by thirty or so cruisers and a passel of DDs.
Hiccup sat in the command chair on the flag bridge, breathing deeply and evenly. This wasn't going to be easy even with the advantages the Loopers had over normal humans, but Hiccup had seen this done - and had done it - before, and this 'trick' he was using to win battles without the advantage of tactical and strategic brilliance verging on precognition only required a sharp mind and lots of power, not necessarily having recently slept, and with Toothless there to sharpen it their influence could affect the entire fleet at damn near full blast.
Okay, we're closing in. Time.
Thomas Theisman and Shannon Foraker watched on the tac plot as the Grayson fleet closed on the Havenite BB task force, too late for the BBs to dodge, and began to shred them with missile and energy fire.
Shannon was muttering to herself. "That's not right... they're adjusting their formation faster than orders can possibly be going out, yet it's happening in perfect sync. This isn't individual initiative, Skip, it's more like every one of them knows what every other one is about to do."
"Watch the language, Shannon..." Theisman muttered, hoping to steer his most competent staff member away from slipping up too often and using elitist terms to refer to crew members - lest the Citizen Commissioner notice. She had a point, though... what was that damnable man doing?
Hiccup felt a savage grin overtake his face as his half dozen SDs smashed the entire BB formation of over thirty without a single casualty in return, the huge, cumbersome ships practically dancing as the missiles and beams howled past.
Man, but battle meditation boosted by a pair of strongly empathic Loopers rocked!
And for our next trick... What about dealing with the Mesan bloody Alignment? It would only take two weeks...
Okay, fine, dear heart. We can deal with the Mesan Alignment. What do you think? Make'em paranoid that an actual alien race is showing up and plans to destroy them and only them? Or just let Beowulf know what they've been doing? Who knows, the League might actually do something when it's proven that the Mesans are halfway to chemical mind control and have actually bred humans not only as slaves but as politicians.
Recruit Victor Cachat. He's always great fun.
"Right, welcome to Dragon Training, Ruffnut, Tuffnut, Astrid, Snotlout, Fishlegs, Hiccup and Lina Inverse, who's apparently new, not that I'd know, I'm only the blacksmith."
Hiccup's head jerked to the side. Oh Thor no.
"Hiiii! I'm suure I'll be able to deal with the dragons!"
Crap, it is her! Toothless, get Buzzard, Sparklout and Bluebell out of here!
Gobber, oblivious to exactly what this new Looper was like, continued his spiel to the faint backdrop of several 'wooshes' of equalizing air and concluded with the bit about "learning on the job" just as Terry received the news and, completely disregarding the need for concealment, between-jumped to his bonded human and finally got his attention by biting him on the ear, before dumping the details of Lina Inverse into Gobber's mind.
Gobber flinched violently, released the Zippleback as the only Dragon left in the cages at this point and ran towards the other Loopers, shouting "Quick, get Toothless to get us out of here!"
Lina didn't notice the large black, blue and red dragons between - jump in, evacuate the testing area and jump out again, as her focus was on the two - headed Zippleback normally known as Sparky and Smoky.
"Darkness beyond twilight. Crimson beyond blood that flows. Buried in the stream of time is where your power grows. In thy great name, I pledge myself to conquer, all the foes who stand, before the mighty gift bestowed in my unworthy hands. Let the fools who stand before me be destroyed, by the power you and I posses: Dragon Slave!"
Berk, the Zippleback, and much of the surrounding shallower seas were reduced to a vast, steaming crater in the ocean, visible even from the volcano on which the Loopers (and the twins) stood, it being the closest place at least reasonably likely to survive.
Gobber turned to the oldest Loopers.
"Next time, pay more attention the first few days of a Loop! That was not fun!"
"Look, Gobber, even if we had spotted her earlier, she's the sort of person who explodes every new Loop at least once just to test if Dragon Slave works there - despite the fact it always does - and at least we got out fast enough that we're not in an Eiken Loop, right?
Hiccup had seen a large proportion of the ways the Multiverse could throw "Large, Draconic and Scaly" at him, so it was understandable that he was also used to recognizing those ones that appeared around Berk. Not this time, though.
"Toothless? Do you know anything about this? Because I don't remember 'Giant, slim, black with pink underbelly, evil dragon - that breathes wind, shadows, poison and pure fear - and has a metal tail tip' before. Well, at least not speaking to us about how we should all submit to her!"
Toothless remained silent.
I met her once in a Loop you weren't in. She's called Cynder - spent most of the first part of the loop running away from her. She wasn't as evil after that - she sorta shrunk or returned to her real age or... something. When I saw that she'd replaced the Grey Death-
"So it has been you doing all those 'the Death flattens Berk' loops! I knew it!"
I never said that.
"Fine, fine. At least this is a new way for Berk to be destroyed."
The two watched as hurricane force winds blew the entire village into the sea, at least until a gigantic cheiroballista from the Blacksmith's hut flattened the pair of them and the Loop ended.
Stoic the Vast turned towards the sound of his son's voice, expecting it to be like the last time the lad had been out in a raid, Hiccup running for his life from some Gronckle or Nadder that decided to try and off him.
Instead he saw Hiccup repeatedly kicking a Nightmare in the chin, forcing it into the air, whereupon he took a stance, exploded with light and cried out something that sounded like 'Morning Peacock'...
And then punched the dragon several hundred times in a few seconds, with fists that were on fire.
Stoic wondered what he was paying Gobber, and decided it wasn't enough - or possibly too much, if Gobber hadn't bothered to teach him.
Hiccup landed gracefully and brushed himself off, as the Nightmare, thoroughly on fire and not in a good way, smashed into the one intact catapult on the wall defences and destroyed it.
Hiccup looked sheepish. "Sorry... Dad... but this sort of thing always happens, y'know?" Next time, I'll try something less destructive. Like a sixty - four palms strike? Maybe just learn the chidori and call it the 'Thor fist' or something. Must minimize collateral damage...
Hiccup was interrupted as Stoic swept him into an embrace. "Nice work, Son."
"Yeah, Dad, if I need to beat up dragons with my bare hands for your approval, this might not work. Not with my new pet cat, anyway."
You know I'm better than a cat. No hairballs.
Hiccup reached for the weapons on the rack, and selected an ornate hammer that Gobber had prepared for him.
Let's see that Nightmare (a replacement for the now rather more docile Sparklout, watching from overhead) try and kill him now, with an honest - to - Odin Thunder Hammer ready for him!
Right, if he's got the Power Fist ready by next Loop we'll try that as well. Maybe then I should just break out the lightsaber.
"So, how's learning to shapeshift going?"
"Oh, come on! It shouldn't be that hard, I mean, you got that size shifting ages ago! That's how we did the 'Berk likes Dragons but still not me' Loop last time, you just went forty feet long and got the resident Death in a headlock!"
Harder to do more than just change size. I'm trying to grow entire limbs here, you of all people should know what that feels like! Remember the Second Stage Transformations with Tailed Beast me chakra? Or the Animagus accident where you had wings for a week? Or-
"The wing thing was pretty cool. Might try that again sometime."
Ask Shinji about Splicing - he'll know how.
"You could try to reintegrate the fragment of you that I got when in that Loop where I was a lycanthrope, I mean that one's a shapeshifting Dragon of sorts. Might help."
"Okay, got it?"
Yes, actually. No more loops stuck as an owl or something ridiculous! Only works between Dragon forms and what I've been forced into that Loop, weirdly.
"Maybe we should celebrate next 'Berk likes Dragons' Loop by going all-up Night Fury on them? Or get benefit from the fact that you can now betweenjump entire spacecraft in an Honorverse loop?"
Nah, I'm going to scare the crap out of your Dad by pretending to be the Ghost of Dragons Past. Want to help?
"...Yeah, okay. I'll do the special effects."
Hiccup looked around. He was in a forest, and nobody else from the magical college his memories mentioned was anywhere near enough to see or hear.
Toothless, any information?
Toothless' mental voice came back. Hang on a second, I actually started the Loop as a werewolf in wolf form; need to shift before coming over to you. There we are.
Toothless, at only about a foot, appeared from between and flew up Hiccup's sleeve.
Okay, give me the info and I'll see if it's a fiction in another Loop.
Magical college, this is one of two nations, apparently this is the day people get their familiars.
No, just whatever they find in the woods.
Okay, got it. Wow, this one's a bit obscure. Looks like it'll be fun, though. Apparently, the familiar bond spell isn't intended to work on sentient creatures, but does if they're still animals, and has the benefit that the familiar gets to cast spells too if he's sentient. In the original, Reemah - that's you - got a werewolf familiar called Barak and they were very awesome when not trying to kill one another.
So, what are our options?
Basically, do you want werewolf - pretending - to - be - a - wolf me as a familiar, fire lizard size me or a full size Night Fury familiar?
Tricky choice. Let's go with full size.
The other trainee mages had all arrived back at the college and were cooing over their own or others' new familiars when they noticed the prodigy lightning mage's magical signature on the way back. Someone commented that he probably got something tiny and was upset, but that joke died as they saw Hiccup fly in on the back of a huge dragon, riding with no saddle or safety harness. It was clear that the dragon was a familiar.
Hiccup slipped off Toothless' back, gave him a scratch, then turned to the shocked teachers. "What? I did what you asked."
Hiccup was back at Berk.
Only difference was, this time he was about eight.
Toothless was, at this point, about half grown and only able to travel to Berk by teleport, but then again this did present a possibility. Toothless would gradually reduce the number of raids and encourage the dragons to fish instead, while Hiccup would... redesign his image.
He ostentatiously spent a few weeks making a slim dagger to exacting standards, inlaid with runes, engraved with dragons and symbols...
Then quietly threw it in the sea, released his zanpakuto and pretended that the resultant dagger that shot flaming bolas was what he had been making all along.
Astrid, Fishlegs and Snotlout did similar things once they realized all of them were present together, and the children decided to just try the brazen approach.
"I can't believe that worked."
"Well, Astrid, you four are young and foolish this Loop, so the most obvious explanation for four Viking kids to turn up using dragons as horses is that they did, indeed, just find the dragons and try it out - just as you said."
"So, what's your excuse for Terry, then?"
"...Experiment in furnace - lighting. Saves on matches."
Snotlout looked slightly worried. "You know, I never thought I'd say this, but man are we Vikings dumb."
"Totally. This is the lamest excuse we've tried since the Ninja Dragons loop."
Snotlout looked up eagerly. "Tell me more, I must have missed that."
Hiccup grinned. "All the Looping dragons basically turned up in the relevant houses and disappeared without a trace if people made a fuss, only to reappear the next day. Bluebell looked really bizarre in a black jumpsuit, and nobody commented when Toothless really didn't need one."
"Well, at least we've moved up the timeline by six years or so, so hopefully the Death will be up shortly. Anyone got an idea we haven't tried yet?"
Astrid's reply was to look faintly embarrassed and summon her version of Raising Heart from a subspace pocket. "We could just blow it up with a Divine Buster."
"...Where did you get that?"
"For some reason I get all the Magical Girl Loops. I think I even have a pair of ice shooting pistols somewhere from the disaster that was the last HiME Loop. Remember, the one where you tried to Gattai with Toothless?"
"... we agreed never to mention that again, damn it! Next time I try that, I use a nice, safe Biomerge."
Hiccup the sorcerer looked at the rest of his party. From one viewpoint their motley group was a bit pathetic for Faerún, essentially consisting of an artificer, an axe fighter, another axe fighter, a hammer fighter and him, the sorcerer.
From another they were going to win any adventure they were sent on. Dragons are a great bonus piece of equipment.
"Hmmm, should we take the adventure that leads to the Luskan border, or the one that requires us to defeat a grand demon of pure ice?"
"Let's go with the one that means the pansy demon melts in seconds! I swear, the other adventurers won't know what hit them!"
Hiccup faced his greatest challenge yet. Through a combination of poor planning and Astrid Testarossa, Fishlegs Scrya and Snotlout Hayate thoroughly messing up this Loop, he had to fight all of the Numbers at once. Even he, with the knowledge of the Loops, couldn't manage to be in that many places at once, not without spreading his mind too thin to participate in the kind of freeform nuke tennis that battles tended to be in the Nanoha Loop.
Or at least, he couldn't, he thought, a smirk playing across his face.
"Right, I want all of you to line up in alphabetical order of original Loop purpose - yes, and you - look, you each get a fish, okay!"
The flock of Toothless inhabiting Hiccup's mind instantly settled into a line, neatly arranged in the specified order.
"Right. Animagus, Bijuu, CHILD, Device, Digimon, Familiar... ...Zanpakuto. Okay, that's all of you, have your fish you greedy little beggars. Now be ready for this, okay? I'm about to draw each of you into a chakra - mana composite construct that should let you access all of my applicable powers without eating my reserves too fast. Basically a sort of Summon. Each of you has to go after the specified target.
"Animagus form goes after Uno, CHILD Toothless is assigned to Due, Bijuu is going for Tres, Device you're staying with me, Digimon aspect after Quattro..."
"You're not going to go free, Scaglietti!"
"Oh, this is interesting. The green demon after me, personally. Well, too bad for you, but you're already too late to stop me! All my lovely Numbers have been sent on their missions, and they will complete my purpose irrespective of if I survive. Besides, I have myself backed up, so it's not as if a mere S+-ranker could interrupt my rightful ascension to a god among men!"
"Actually, about that, where is your nearest Number? Because I don't want to be looking in that direction in a few moments."
"You don't even know that? TSAB certainly has slipped in the last few years. But I'll humour you - Wendy, Number 11, is behind where you're standing right this instant-"
A vast flash of light, almost blinding even at eighty kilometres distance, illuminated the face of Jail Scaglietti as he realized that yes, this youngster of a mage in front of him had just timed Wendy's defeat to the second, with an attack that looked like that very same Starlight Breaker the mage was known for, at that range and facing. In fact, was it possible that the question had just been to increase the effect of that demonstration?
And then the other Numbers reported in near - chorus that they too had been defeated. By a large black dragon wielding a Device (in its' mouth and/or paws, apparently) just like the one that the mage was carrying in front of him.
Hiccup lifted Raising Dragon in front of him, and removed the cartridge feed, replacing it with a chunky belt reminiscent of a machine gun ammo feed.
"Now then, mister Scaglietti, we're about to see if you can be Befriended hard enough to propel you into the moon!"
Itachi was eaten in seconds by Hollow Toothless, who had barely beaten Bijuu Toothless out for the honour.
Sasuke watched as his fires washed off the back of the white and red wolf that had just appeared in front of Hiccup.
Someone call my name?
Toothless, don't taunt the psycho.
Susanoo materialized, and lasted only a few seconds before Toothless set his spiritual bow and sword on fire. Then the demonic warrior ran away to save his Sake jug.
Toothless and Hiccup disappeared into the wormhole of Kamui, and betweenjumped out eight seconds later.
"Come ON!" shouted Tobi/Madara, from a nearby tree. "Does ANYTHING the Sharingan does work on you?"
"Not really, no."
"Behold, my Six Paths. Six ninja, each a specialist in one art, all able to see what the other sees... This is the true power of the Rin'negan."
"That's nice, I guess. Only..."
Deva Pain narrowed his eyes. "Only what?"
"Well, I think I might owe you copyright on this technique, if you already had something similar. Go-jin Ryu Naguru no jutsu!"
Pain's eyes, all seven pairs counting Nagato, widened as one as over a dozen dragons - apparently fifteen, from the technique name - swarmed his Paths and started blowing them up. Deva Pain deflected the first with Shinra Tensei, but five seconds of cooldown between gravity attacks led to him being set on fire. Repeatedly.
The rest of the paths fell to sheer weight of numbers as the main Toothless and Hiccup watched from the sidelines.
That name isn't working for me. Fifteen dragon strike?
Fine, fine, I'll just call it in English next time. Call it something like dragon horde? Dragon strike?
What about Dragon flock?
Nagato was later recovered from the tower and forced at Toothlesspoint to resurrect everyone who had died in the massive Shinra Tensei that had destroyed Konoha. He was understandably bitter about it all, but at least Hiccup was able to supply sufficient extra chakra that Nagato didn't have to suicide to bring them all back.
"She won't wake, you know."
Hiccup looked up from Ginny's body, already dragging it to the side of the Chamber, out of the way. "Oh, I know. You, the Horcrux trying to take over her soul, need to be defeated soon or she dies. However, I propose a wager."
Riddle looked dazed. "You know I'm a -"
"Yeah, pretty obvious really. Even the necessary death matches up, and you were from the 'house of bastards' and never showed up after leaving Hogwarts, so that means a name change, and- well, an anagram? Really?"
"What kind of wager, then, son of blood - traitors?"
"Oh, a Reptile Rumble, of course. All this is going over the school PA system, and I bet Fred and George are already collecting bets."
"You have no such beast! Only your tiny little familiar there!"
"Actually, Toothless here is under the effect of a lot of magic, and he'll be able to kick your basilisk all over the place in a few minutes. Now, summon the basilisk or must I do it for you?"
While Riddle summoned the basilisk from the great statue, spitting the words in rage, Hiccup fitted a pair of IR goggles - or magical equivalents hacked together with about a dozen different spells and some house paint - over his own eyes and another on Toothless, before setting the foot long dragon on the ground
Hopefully the goggles would protect them from the eyes.
That hope was borne out a second later, as the Basilisk looked straight at the pair of them, who met its' gaze unflinchingly.
Tom smirked, the same cocky expression all Slytherins with half a brain appeared to have been issued on the first night. "Almost. But I have just one spell to cast first. Finite Incantato!"
The hugely potent Dispel flashed across the chamber, and caught Toothless in the snout.
Dispelling the 'lot of magic' - one big shrinking charm with the juice to last at least another year.
"And that," Hiccup commentated for the crowd over the growls, hisses, thuds and small explosions, "Is why you should always check what you're about to dispel."
The basilisk lasted three minutes. Two minutes forty seconds of skirmishing, one lunge, one bite, and fifteen seconds being rendered into soup by Toothless wearing a one tail Chakra Cloak, fixing the poison as a side effect.
To add insult to injury, Hiccup destroyed the diary by giving it to Toothless - still in one tail form - as a treat for a job well done.
Slytherin house almost universally lost all their money that day, for betting on the wrong reptile. Served them right for not remembering the incident with the broom accident first year - something was off when a foot long dragon could carry Neville Longbottom.
Next year, Hiccup proved that Dementors explode when confronted with Dragonfire. Pity, really - his Patronus never really got a workout these days.
"Hiccup? Where are we now?"
Hiccup heard Fishlegs' plaintive voice, and looked himself over. As always, his hair and face were the same as normal, but the clothes gave him a good idea.
Yes, Rider. And I've replaced old sharky himself.
Hiccup looked down, seeing the chief of Giha village below him, and grabbed the katana, flipping it round his shoulders in the way that felt so right here.
Well, if you were stuck in a Gurren Lagann Loop, there were worse people to be than Kamina.
"Okay, Fishlegs, listen up. That big robot there is a Ganmen, and the little one you were taking me to see is clearly a better one! Everyone knows that the more humanlike the Ganmen, the stronger it is! So get in that Lagann of yours and teach this guy a lesson! I'll keep him busy until you're ready!"
"Uh, Hiccup? Are you okay? You seem to be behaving... differently."
"I'm in character, but not enough. Nothing is too overdone for the mighty Kamina! Now get going!"
As Fishlegs stumbled and ran for the tunnel, Hiccup turned to the gunwoman who had recently appeared next to him.
"Hey, Astrid, wanna bet that I can hold off that giant thing with only this sword for two whole minutes?"
"Is this loop really that OTT?"
"Remember Daimon Masaru when he came to Berk? The guy who punched out the Red Death on the back of a dragon made of fire?"
"Oh, god. Him. So you mean this is his home Loop?"
"No, he's a bit too subdued for that. Hey, hey, Hey, Hey, HEY! Get over here, ya big metal bastard!"
True to his cocky claim, Hiccup did indeed survive for the requisite two minutes, though the merely normal steel Katana couldn't be enhanced enough by the torrents of Chakra and Reiatsu flooding it to save it from at least a few dings and scratches.
Then Lagann burst through the floor and shredded the Ganmen, as per usual for the Loop.
"Hello to the lot of you. I'm Gobber, chief of Littner village. That means I get first dibs on any gigantic battleships we may happen to steal over the course of this Loop - and yes, I plan on milking my position of actual authority for all that it's worth until we face the Spiral Vi-king."
"Let me make three things clear to you, human. First, I am commander "Toothless" Viral in the human eradication unit, Far East Theater. Second, I am as much in character as you are, so remember to tell the rest of us that. Third, that is my dinner and I will not let you take it unless you trade it for fish."
"We're the Black Siblings!" chorused the three teen girls and one more familiar teen boy.
Hiccup shaded his eyes. "Wow, Snotlout. Never figured you'd have sisters, somehow."
A vein popped on Snotlout's forehead. "Shut up! I have as much right to be a black sibling as you have to drive that monstrosity of a Ganmen."
Hiccup pulled himself back into the seat of Gurren, his Chakra Cloak regeneration already healing the wound from Thylimph's attack.
Not that there was much. He'd used his Byakugan from a strange Naruto loop and the knowledge of what was coming to time his dodge.
"Jeez... can't a guy get any sleep around here? Okay, Fishlegs, combine with Gurren and sit back to listen to this inspirational music. It's the speech I heard last time through. Pay attention to what I'm doing, though, you might need to do it yourself later."
Hey, Toothless, after we got the battleship I retired. I'm insisting I be allowed to rest, but really that's so that you can beat up on Gurren Lagann a bit. Don't go overboard though.
Toothless stood on the deck of the Dai-Gurren, looking unhappily at the utter mess that was left on the deck.
It was going to take weeks to separate the three Ganmen from the twisted wreckage.
"Future reference? 'Don't go overboard' does not refer to actual overboard but instead to not doing too much damage. You can certainly jump over the side of the ship if that means you escape from Attenborough's firing arc in melee combat. Now I'll have to fight LordStoic myself."
"Even when trapped by karma's cycle, The dreams we left behind will open the door! Even if the Universe stands in our way, Our seething blood will determine what will be! We will break through Time and Space! And defy all who would stop us to grab hold of our path! Tengen Toppa... GURREN LAGANN! JUST WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK WE ARE!"
"Wow, you were right." Gobber added. "Going along with it is just more fun."
Hiccup looked at the section of his Subspace Pocket he'd been filling up this Loop.
He'd decided that versatility was good, and that an actual bladed weapon Zanpakuto would help (especially alongside Kyouran) so he'd been testing spirits for compatibility.
That lucky bastard Ichigo could use any Zanpakuto at will, but he'd been reduced to lesser fare in that he could only sync with certain very specific spirits. The condition was, mind, really obvious in nature.
'Better than some people's set, I suppose... quite a lot better.' he mused. Hyorinmaru, Minazuki, the biggest prize of all - Ryujin Jakka - and others, all in their individual rooms (and why not? their spirits could manifest and enjoy the time in between use.). Kyoka Suigetsu, it being a Li lung; Raika; hang on. What were Ulquiorra, Gattenbainne Mosqueda and Edrad Liones doing in here?
They looked back at him icily.
"Oh, hehe, yeah... Sorry, I sort of got carried away after grabbing Ryujin Jakka and went on a sort of spree... I think my original Zanpakuto had something to do with it, he usually does..."
Don't try to pin this one on me.
Reality flickered as the Loop formed, and Hiccup frowned down at the telephone in front of him. He'd never been here before, but it seemed strangely familiar...
Toothless, you there?
Oh, yeah, got it. Evangelion, brilliant. What to do... Summon a usable form of Toothless and destroy the Angels with him that way? Or...
He grinned, as he mentally felt around in his subspace pocket for the nanoprobes given to him by Chief O'Brien and the chip carrying AI Toothless.
Unit 01 was due a little redecorating, he decided.
Now, how to get to the Geofront? He hadn't been there before, so apparition was out, and besides there was the script here that should handle it.
Right, time for a few "purchases" from the empty shops nearby. Mainly large amounts of computer equipment.
The neural link snapped into place over subspace, once more connecting Hiccup with his near-constant mental companion.
Hi, Toothless. Got a job for you.
Always with the work, never a moment's rest...
Hey, the AI instance of you didn't do a thing for the last ten Loops!
Fair enough. What do you want?
Lots and lots of N2 mines, a design for an EVA version of your extremely deadly self, and a feed mechanism that fires barely - coherent plasma bolts the size of a truck that detonate on impact. Screw the script for an Eva universe.
Katsuragi didn't pay much attention to Hiccup on the car journey, except to notice that he was completely at ease with essentially any of the twists and turns the car was put through on the mad dash to NERV, even staying in the seat when the car went upside down.
'Well, I suppose he is supposed to be a good EVA pilot...' she had thought to herself.
Now, though, it was clear something really big was off with him. He'd climbed into the EVA alright, but he'd reached Sync ratio 130% and it had started radically changing shape and growing some bizarre extra organs (at least according to the frantic Ritsuko) until it had climbed into the launcher and somehow triggered it remotely, along with the unremarked upon extra launcher five kilometres away that, according to the MAGI, carried at least a dozen N2 mines.
Upon reaching the surface it was clear the change was complete, as the EVA flew (!) over to the other launcher and ate one of the N2 mines whole, containing the subsequent explosion in an internal AT-field.
Unit-01 then took flight again, went into a stooping dive and exploded the Angel with one shot. Apparently it had delivered the force and heat from the N2 mine inside a "toroidal self - propagating internal AT field" that meant the Angel essentially couldn't deflect or avoid it.
Gendo already looked like he was dancing on quicksand...
On the Over the Rainbow, Hiccup contemplated the Loop so far. He'd been doing fairly well, all things considered... He hadn't stepped on anyone as Shinji had first time around, Fishlegs and Snotlout were running interference for him at school so he seemed to be just some weird artist, and Toothless was enjoying himself even more than usual at the prospect of being able to fly with an S2 engine (stolen from the fourth angel) for power. It still pissed off the NERV scientists how he'd done that...
Unit 02 looked at the nine mass production EVAs all around it.
The pilot's face turned feral, as the EVA sank into a crouch.
"Five minutes of power... Hah! No challenge, these things! Like Trolls, easy!"
The second child ripped into the MP EVAs like a wild beast... which her EVA resembled after some judicious Iruel nanite work. If anything, this Loop was worth it for the nearness to breakdown Ritsuko was at... showed what you got for thinking the laws of physics held sway around AT - fields.
Hiccup closed his eyes and smiled for a moment. Astrid was like that, so much so that her pre - Loop history as someone following Asuka's path of maximum carnage was essentially no different to the casual observer.
Hiccup looked around. "Wow, already?" Toothless, please tell me you recorded that! Nine Godmoding MP EVAs in under a minute!
Toothless' mental voice was smug. Every second.
Loop 51 (Sorry for the different formatting)
Hiccup had decided that, so soon after the "Quincy that sees through illusions" cheap takedown of Aizen courtesy of the Byakugan eyes and the Zanpakuto Stealing Spree, he might as well enjoy this Bleach Loop by doing something rather different. Specifically, fake up a power set consistent with the universe.
He sent a message to the Looping Ichigo he felt in the distance, essentially consisting of "Roll with it."
Then he concentrated on the image of a stuffed toy dragon, and told Toothless to adopt the shape he specified.
Time for another kind of Ryoka for Soul Society to have headaches about...
Ishida pushed up his glasses on his nose. "Well, you see, I wouldn't normally have intervened, but I was just on my way home from shopping, and upon seeing two Shinigami, well, it would impugn my honour as a Quincy to not intervene."
From the other side of the Squad 7 command crew came a short laugh. "Honour of the Quincy, this, Honour of the Quincy that. Jeez, Ishida, one of these days you're going to have to accept that you actually like us."
Ishida turned to the short, green-eyed boy under the next streetlamp. "That may be true. But not, unfortunately, today."
"You're just jealous of my awesome stuffed toy of doom, Quincy."
Byakuya turned to the newcomer. Was everyone in this part of the real world insane?
"Foolish child. How you expect to handle a Captain - level opponent is beyond me, especially with a child's toy."
"What's the matter, Kuchiki - dono? You seem nervous. Afraid of a little boy playing with his doll?"
Abruptly, the captain saw the double meaning in the sentence. Surely not!
"Zeige Dich, Nacht Furie!"
Well, he'd known this was going to be a bad day from the time his tea was slightly cooler than usual. Oh, and when he had been made to take his sister for execution, but that hardly counted...
Fishlegs put down the railgun he'd picked up somewhere and nodded in satisfaction as the Armoured Death collapsed to the ground with a huge hole right through its' brain.
"Nice work, Fishlegs!" called Gobber from the rest of the Vikings, most of them watching in awe, some of them (those Awake in this loop) applauding.
"Points for originality and for the one liner right before you fired!"
Fishlegs face shone with his huge smile. "Thanks, dad."
There was a pause.
Hiccup, Astrid, Snotlout and half the non-Looping Vikings turned on Gobber. "He's WHAT?"
"Oh, didn't ya know? We thought it was obvious."
Hiccup snorted. "Yeah, because all Vikings resemble their parents too closely for it to be otherwise."
"Well, couldn't you at least tell from the fact we have the same last names?"
Astrid spoke this time. "Right, like we Vikings pay attention to those. I think maybe five Vikings even have last names and as I recall, you're not one of them; you replaced it with a title."
"Well... Okay, I suppose you have a point."
"Okay, screw this." Hiccup ducked a throwing axe as the Vikings began to pour into the Kill Ring. Oh, the perils of an "original" Loop path...
"Shatter, Kyoka Suigetsu."
The assembled Vikings all saw the strange behaviour of Hiccup's sword, but paid it no mind.
Hiccup raised his voice. "There is no Night Fury here. I just beat the Nightmare personally with nothing but my bare hands, though I only knocked it out. You will not notice the Night Fury unless told otherwise. This does not apply to Time Loopers, you know who you are."
The Vikings looked vaguely confused at why they were entering the Kill Ring with no readily apparent reason, but shrugged it off and began to disperse.
"Now, Astrid, shall we go and get something to eat to celebrate my passing with flying colours?"
"What did you just do?"
"Complete Hypnosis, remember that bastard Aizen from the Bleach Loops?"
"I remember him, but how-"
"Stole his sword. Got a half dozen others, too. And three resurrecions, but that was an accident."
Luke Skywalker fell backwards as the Sand Person menaced him with the Gaffi stick, before clubbing him into woozy consciousness with the less sharp end.
Luke fell back, not knowing how to stop what was going on, as the Sand People started ripping up the hull of his Speeder to get at the delicate machinery inside. The nomads were sure to deal with him somehow, whether by killing him before they left or taking him as a slave, and the life he saw in front of him now was infinitely worse than his vague dreams of becoming a pilot, or even just being a farm boy the rest of his life.
Then a hideous sound echoed over the hills, and the sand people turned.
All they saw was an old man, one who Luke recognised through the pain and cloudy vision as the old man who lived out here, drawing all manner of fantastic things with a simple plastic rod and a lump of graphite - the picture of a hermit.
So what was he doing out here?
The old man spoke, his voice carrying despite the low volume, and somehow understandable though he spoke no language Luke knew.
"You'd better leave, or at least duck, my good fellows, or I will not be responsible for the consequences."
The sand people shouted at him in return, and one of them levelled a rifle.
Then the one who'd made the threat was blasted backwards by a bolt of blue fire from somewhere over the hillcrest.
"I did warn you. Now, the next one will-"
The sand people roared and charged... about twenty feet. Then a gigantic bolt of azure fire slashed across Luke's vision and destroyed the charging horde.
What was that, a photon torpedo?
The old man walked calmly up to Luke. "Here, let me help you up."
Luke didn't know what to think. On the one hand this was an old man, considered cracked in the head, with a bizarre mode of speech.
On the other hand, he could swear he had a concussion a few minutes ago...
At the bar, Luke had been pushed over by the criminal, and had gone down hard as his opponent lunged for him-
Then that azure light appeared again, and the thug's arm was on the floor, the old man - Jedi, he remembered, which explained a lot, if not everything - was holding a small dagger in his hands with a two foot blue blade of light extended from it.
Strange, he thought a lightsaber was just a cylinder, and his certainly was... then he saw a similar cylinder hanging from the old man's belt. So he had a normal saber, but this was what he went for first? Strange...
Darth Vader swung his malevolent red saber in an arc at the aged Jedi - who vanished, his robes and lightsaber falling in a heap to the ground.
Luke ran into the Milennium Falcon, upset about his loss, not noticing the tiny lizard in the corner of the room that paid careful attention to him.
The battle in the throne room of the Death Star was going well for Luke, who had defeated his father and was now refusing to fight him.
Though the balance shifted a second later when Palpatine proved to be able to throw lightning bolts at him.
As Vader started for Palpatine for his heroic sacrifice, three brilliant balls of fire shot out of the fused and tangled wreckage in the corner of the room and wrapped around Palpatine before exploding.
The old man, not looking any different from when Luke had known him briefly a few years before, nor than the times what had certainly seemed to be his spirit had shown up, calmly walked over to the smoking Sith Lord and threw him down the reactor shaft, before pulling that same trick from years before and healing Vader - or Anakin Skywalker - to full health for a forty year old man.
When pressed about the recent events seconds later when everyone had recovered their voices, his only comment was "Manipulating time and teleporting combine well to fake one's death - and as for the appearances afterwards? Ah, that was Soul Candy, a brilliant invention of the last few decades. Why wait until death to advise one's pupils from the spirit realm?"
"So you let me believe I'd finally beaten you, old man?"
His voice was unrepentant. "Yes. Now, hurry up and get onboard my friend here - this thing's about to explode."
Luke looked up. "You mean they've done it? The core is going to explode?"
"Well, it was protected by an amazing shield, one powered by pure dark force energy from Palpatine and of incredible natural strength. Unfortunately, a ballistic Sith shaped uncannily like the emperor just blew it up, so get on quickly, why don't you!"
Anakin got on the strange beast just after his son. "How did you escape the Death Star the first time?"
His teacher's voice was ripe with humour. "Like this."
About ten pitch black seconds later, the trio were five hundred metres above the Endor forest canopy and coming in to land.
"You galactics are all alike with your veneration of technology! We Yuzzhan Vong will defeat you for our purposes are pure and our equipment lives and partners with us-"
"Actually, I don't use anything electronic. And my sword that I use in place of a lightsaber has a personality. Does that count?"
Nom Arnor looked disquieted for a moment. "Really? Prove it, human!"
Six crowded seconds later, Nom was flat against the floor on his back, looking into the face of the huge draconic thing the jeedai had summoned from nowhere.
"Well, that seems in order. Welcome aboard..." he stuttered.
Hiccup looked out over the sea of faces, many of them familiar, and felt like becoming a hermit for the Loop.
Seriously, would it be that bad, Toothless? None of this would intrude.
Of course it would, that's the actions of a coward. You think Harry enjoys having new faces every other Loop? Now get in there!
Hiccup cleared his throat.
"Uh, Hi! Welcome to everyone visiting from other Loops. My name is the singularly unfortunate Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, and I am the Anchor for this Loop. The defining characteristics of this Loop are dragons. Lots of them, from the Terrible Terror that is the size of a cat and as nasty as a migrane when it goes for your nose, through my companion Toothless, who Loops with me, to the really big ones like the Death. It is the tradition of the village to hate and try to kill dragons, and it is the tradition of the Loopers here to prove them wrong by saving their hairy behinds from the Death itself within three months. So, to that end it is time for dragon training, and there is one golden rule. Nothing that would either kill off the dragon you are trying to work with or level the island entirely.
Now I'm going to be available if anyone needs help, and if a dragon appears to recognize you then be aware it may be an individual from your home Loop recast as a dragon. If this seems to be the case, get myself or one of the other Loopers for whom this is home to translate for you."
Five minutes later, a Nightmare was trying to eat Naruto and making a surprisingly good go of it despite the Fox Cloak, Nanoha appeared to be working up a really impressive Befriend on her assigned dragon judging from the fact she had loaded a third cartridge clip, Ichigo was hollowified and bonding with a Boneknapper, Yachiru had apparently found Kenpachi incarnate as a Razorwing, Shinji and Asuka were fighting over... something, possibly the last Loop, Harry was having a fluent chat with a Skrill despite his speaking Parseltongue instead of Dragonese, Wade Wilson was introducing a Whispering Death to the concept of importance to the story, and in general the chaos was total.
Apart from the small island of sanity where F'Lar and Mnementh, Lawrence and Temeraire, Twoflower and Ninereeds, and all the home Loopers watched in exasperation.
The one thing I can't work out is who screwed up badly enough for this Loop...
Astrid hovered over the volcano on Bluebell as Hiccup and Toothless rose into the air, having taunted the Red Death into following them. That was her cue, and she pressed the button.
Massive speakers concealed all over the bay burst to life, playing the request Hiccup had made, and his voice rang across the bay.
"Father, understand this. The reason I disobeyed you is the same reason Toothless disobeyed the Red Death. Both you and it though that humans and dragons could never work together, when they are greater than the sum of their parts!"
Green energy started to form around the pair as they got some distance, before turning to the sound of Happily Ever After.
"Man and Dragon, joining their efforts to make their own future! That's the way to break through the cycle of hatred, and lead into a better tomorrow!
The pair went into a spin.
The dragon and rider followed a dead flat path across the bay, straight for the Red Death.
The enormous torrent of green energy shredded the malevolent beast, shrugging aside its' fire, before burying itself in the side of the mountain hard enough to shake the earth.
Stoic gasped at the sight, before Gobber clapped him on the shoulder.
"Don't worry, he'll be fine, he's probably gone all the way through."
Loop 51 continued
"Right, the plan for entering Seiretei is simple," the elder Shiba explained. "We get you all to create a cannonball of Reiatsu, then we use a huge gunpowder charge to fire you at the barrier, the cannonball breaks, you get scattered all over Seiretei and presumably at least some of you will come down somewhere you can make it to where Rukia is being held - yes, what is it?"
The Bount held up his stuffed toy. "Or we could just get Toothless to teleport us in."
She scowled. "Or, yes, in a pinch you could just teleport, but where's your sense of adventure?"
"Currently, dead in mysterious circumstances. My drive for survival found the body, but assures me it has a firm alibi."
Chojiro Sasakibe had been surprised to find himself assigned to interception work of the Ryoka along with the other shinigami, but apparently this was due to the large size and the high average ability of the invaders, including at least two varieties of partial human thought to be extinct. He wasn't sure why that meant he personally had to participate - he was used to acting as an adjutant to the captain-commander, after all - but his Gonryomaru was making pleased comments about his finally getting to do something, which made little sense to him. At least it wasn't moaning about his never standing out. Weren't the shades enough to make him unique, especially as Renji had broken one of his pairs and seemed determined to lose the other?
Then he felt a large spiritual pressure ahead, and flipped Gonryomaru into a fencer's grip. It's time.
The rapier formed in his grip, and as he pushed reiatsu into it the sky began to darken and rumble with thunder.
Applause rang out from a nearby rooftop, and he spun to see what it was, already pulling the charge from the environment into the blade, ready to strike.
He saw a young man on the rooftop, apparently around fifteen years of age, and called up to him. "Who are you, and what are you doing here?"
The apparent Royka smiled sheepishly, and replied "Well, I was trying to infiltrate the Seiretei with my stuffed toy as a guide, but I got a little lost - at least I think I did, this isn't Sokyoku hill, right?"
"...Wait, what? A stuffed toy? And how can this be a hill, there's a shadow being cast over it by the real Sokyoku hill!" 'Great. Now it turns out that some new spirit - perhaps one that met that traitor Kuchiki - has turned up inside Seiretei and not right in the head. Why did it happen to me, and why now?'
"Yeah, he's really cool! He flies and shoots fire, and everything! Show him, go on!"
Things failed to happen. The thunderstorm rumbled overhead, and Sasakibe wondered if he really had to handle this. Probably someone like Lieutenant Matsumoto could deal with someone clearly as mad as she was...
"Oh, sorry, I forgot, he only speaks German. Could you give me another go, please?"
Falling back on the apparent British reputation for politeness, Sasakibe decided to humour the Ryoka for a few more minutes before shocking him into unconsciousness and leaving him in the prison for someone else to deal with.
He would have done it already, but it just seemed polite...
He was regretting it seconds later.
"Zeige Dich, Nacht Furie!"
Hiccup ducked behind a fallen lump of roof, the ersatz Bount apparently forgotten in the face of the dragon flitting from the thunderclouds to rooftop height, lobbing lazy fireballs at the first division Lieutenant. Hiccup had a more important job to do than watch Sasakibe calling down lightning to bounce off his rapier at Toothless, Toothless flash stepping (flapping?) all over the place or the occasional lightning spear and fireball clash.
No, he was trying to work out the Bount trick of using reishi to regenerate wounds, as that would be especially useful in Soul Society.
Sasakibe abruptly went flying past, followed by Toothless, who had apparently set himself on fire.
That's a new trick. Where did that come from?
Finally bothered to ask Sparklout how it's done, then decided to fake it up with napalm.
Hiccup walked over to the defeated Lieutenant. "Well, since you were so kind as to point out the hill properly for me, mister Britishman, I'd better be off!"
Sasakibe looked up at him. "You... actually think I'm British?"
"Yeah, you do a fairly good job of it. The attack helps too, as it makes it rain as a side effect, but really you should release earlier, give the storm time to gather."
The Shinigami was clearly touched, though he was trying to hide it as he'd heard that Britishmen were typically stoic.
"At last! Recognition!"
Hiccup smiled as Toothless shrunk back to the toy version of himself. "Glad to be of help!"
And ran off in completely the wrong direction.
Why the getting lost? You lived here for centuries.
Because this way I develop a character trait that lets other people around me do things as well. Besides, Ichigo's nearly at the steps by now, and I don't want to be anywhere near the crater one of his Getsugas is going to make Renji into.
Sajin Komamura spun round, his face forming a snarl and his hand reaching for his zanpakuto. "Do not call me a fox! I am a wolf, damn you!"
Hiccup held up his hands. "Whoa, sorry. Didn't know it was such a sore point."
"I assume you are the Ryoka who has been observed employing powers normally associated with the Bount?"
The invader smiled openly. "Yep! Even got rid of the pesky downsides of being a Bount! Not the upsides of course, that'd be silly, but I no longer need to kill humans to stay alive!" It was true. Normally, his faux Bount powers would indeed mandate drinking people's souls in vampiric fashion, but there was an antidote to that. Proximity to Ichigo Kurosaki.
It was the equivalent of putting a solar panel right next to the sun. Most of the energy that passed through wasn't absorbed, just enough to fuel his unusual powers, but it meant that Bount didn't have to die. Hell, right now Ichi could probably keep a horde of Adjuchas satisfied with power leak.
"Well, I am pleased to hear that, but of course I must now destroy you for invading Seiretei. I hope you understand."
"Of course! I'm glad I seem to meet polite shinigami."
"Console yourself with that. Bankai!"
As the iron colossus formed, the Bount seemed unconcerned at the threat of imminent death presented, not even making a move to use his powers.
"Well, child? Will you do anything, or simply surrender in cowardly fashion?"
"Why do you ask?"
"From talking with Chojiro - Fukutaicho we know the nature of your powers, and that you must release them like a shinigami. So, where is the doll?"
"Oh, right. But you don't know all my powers. For starters, I released him ten minutes ago and you didn't notice, so-" Hiccup continued as Toothless flashed past and ripped a salvo of fireballs at the great iron man, "-you don't know about the stealth aspect."
The fight was amusing to watch, as in trying to direct his bankai to swat Nacht Furie out of the air, Komamura soon ended up looking like a man trying to handle a particularly obstinate fly.
This fight did, however, prevent Komamura from being Black Coffin'd in the everything, so it could be considered a net plus even with the embarrassment.
"Hey, Ichigo, did you ever happen to pick up a Bitte during the business with the Bount?"
"I think so, why do you ask?"
Hiccup looked faintly embarrassed. "I know we're going to be facing the Bount proper in a few weeks - if that - so I thought I'd better power up somewhat. Not to mention I'll need it if we face the Arrancar, I don't fancy being completely pathetic and by now I'm committed to Bounthood for the loop."
Ichigo mused. "Could be fun... OK, here. Who are you going after?"
"Probably going to pick someone who cops it in Yammy's first appearance. Oh, by the way, when's the Memory Rosary thing happening?"
Ichigo looked blank. "Memory... Rosary? What?"
"Oh, you've got to be kidding me... Good thing I was summoning that Loop so I had a memory backup. Every Loop, there's this thing where exile Shinigami try to destroy reality or something and the usual suspects - you know, you, Zaraki, Hitsugaya, Ikkaku, Rukia and probably a few others - paste 'em. Then everyone loses the memory because of something that doesn't make a lot of sense. I escaped thanks to having something like a dozen distinct personae in my subconscious where you have only aspects like Zangetsu and Shirosaki. Well, mine are aspects, but they're not of me... Anyway, I'm willing to bet Naruto, Ranma, Harry and probably a good fraction of the later generation Loopers know, they must have just never bothered to tell you."
Ichigo gripped Zangetsu with white knuckles. "I swear, next Fused loop..."
"Smack the older Loopers around, don't blame us younger generationals, we all see you as basically older than time. How long is your Loop at max?"
"I once hung on until the stars burned out and no souls remained but me. Then I invaded Hell for something to do and the whole place exploded. Since then I usually end the Loop when the Earth does if I hang on for more than a millennium."
"Yeowch. And I thought Star Trek Loops were long..."
Hiccup retreated through Sereitei from Yoshi, the female Bount having ripped open his arm (a wound already healing itself from environmental reishi) and pressuring him in "attack" mode such that he couldn't even call out his own Doll. There was still a backup plan, though, he thought as he closed his eyes to hide the Byakugan, the dojutsu seeing past the lids to enable his dodging - fairly soon he should be close enough to Ishida to coordinate with him for a moment's respite.
"There-CRAP! My LEG!"
Yoshi had caught him again as he jumped over the roof. Not hesitating, Hiccup raised his free hand and pushed as much reiatsu through it as he dared given his not-alive not-dead status, and was rewarded by a shimmering green spike - what happened to a Jyuuken strike that was overloaded by over twenty times - that deflected the follow up blow, and also incidentally alerted his Quincy friend to his predicament.
"Well, well, if it isn't my strange - named... acquaintance, Hiccup the Bount. What brings you to this area?"
"Oh, come on, Ishida! Can't you-" Hiccup focused and flipped into the protective eight trigrams modified Jyuuken stance, finding everything else he had too slow or too obviously non-native to the Loop - "at least show some concern when your favourite freak of nature is in trouble?"
"Of course not!" Ishida looked offended, somehow conveying it despite being engaged in combat with a giant praying mantis. "That would -"
"Yeah, I get the picture." Hiccup backed against Ishida and the duo looked at the Bount and their dolls approaching from two directions.
"Tell you what, swap? I'll handle the insect thing and you handle miss 'attack - defend - not – both' there."
"Sounds good, this one is too spindly for good target practice. On three?"
"No, too easy to misinterpret. Now!"
Cain looked at his new opponent, both combatants enveloped with reishi from disintegrating buildings. "So, another Bount, then? I'm surprised that any Bount could turn traitor like this."
"Really, now? Remember Yoshino? That's two, and there are only what, twelve? Last time I checked, that was more of a revolution."
"True. Well, I suppose I'll have to kill you now, for interfering with our grand plan."
"Which is what, exactly? Go to soul society, eat buildings and be blown up - zeige dich, nacht furie - by Kariya? I didn't know you were so devoted."
Cain looked suspicious. "What was that?"
"You mean the bit about Kariya plans to blow everybody up because he estranged his wife or something?"
"No, that muttering." Hiccup looked innocent.
"Oh, that's simple - people always expect you to finish before doing something. I just released my Doll and he's in a power dive."
Cain looked depressed. "Scheisse."
Hiccup went into a Heavenly Spin defence as the entire block exploded.
"Hey, Ichigo. You go and handle Ulquiorra, I'll sort out the overgrown housecat."
Ichigo nodded, and blasted off over the dunes of Las Noches, not even bothering to Hollowify himself.
Grimmjow glared at Hiccup. "And what makes you think you can handle the Sexta Espada?"
"Mainly, this. Nacht Furie, Zweiform!"
"Ooh, releasing already, human! Okay then, Grind, Pantera!"
When the smoke and dust cleared, Grimmjow was in his Resurrecion state, as might be expected.
Hiccup, however, was standing at least eight feet at the shoulder, covered in night-black scales, wings of the same colour flaring out behind him and holding a sword of blue fire in one clawed hand.
"Oh, yes! It's been a while since I met anyone with that kind of power!" Grimmjow was almost trembling at the prospect of the fight.
"Bring it on, pussycat!"
"Oh you are DEAD, hear me, human, DEAD!"
Ichigo felt the ground shake and the tell-tale boom of fragments of roof falling down echo over the artificial day of Las Noches.
"Well, seems like Grimmjow's getting a good workout. Wonder if the whole place'll collapse before either Ulquiorra or I release?"
Hiccup looked up at the dragon - the Night Fury, he assumed - with eyes that held a little fear, and apprehension, but mainly wonder.
He reached out - and the dragon flinched back, but not far. Again, and it growled slightly, but abated when he drew his hand back.
'So it doesn't want to - he doesn't want to - touch me after all. I suppose we're too different, Vikings and dragons, after all...'
Deciding to try one last attempt, he turned his head away and blindly reached out his hand.
A few seconds after it came to its' full extension, he was ready to give up when a gentle warmth suffused his palm, and he felt scales.
He went weak at the knees with relief, before turning incredulously to look at the dragon pressed gently, eyes closed, against his outstretched hand.
Overhead, silently gliding in the thermals coming from the forest and hidden by the effects of a subtle illusion, a thirty year old Viking and his companion of immeasurably many years watched the events they knew so well.
It seems strange to see him like this.
True. It's always different from the outside, isn't it.
I assume you intend to intervene at some point, Rider mine?
As I recall, things went well enough until the Nightmare fight. Would you let the others know that's when we're making a move?
Very well. Though apparently Astrid and the others are horribly embarrassed at their Prime selves.
That's their problem, we're going to fix things big time. Can you say 'coincidentally timed running battle between dragons ends with the Death blowing up in full view of Berk'?
Not without medical assistance.
Dragon thinks he's funny. Okay, we'd better go back to the hideout, I need to work on my disguise as an actual Viking.
"We don't have to kill them." The younger Hiccup implored, calmly soothing the Nightmare into a relaxed state.
"I said STOP THE-" Before Stoic could truly mess things up, Gobber next to him caught his hammer and twisted it out of his grip, before pointing to the Northeast.
Stoic looked to the indicated direction, only to see a huge monstrosity of a dragon barely - his breath caught in his throat. Judging from the recognizable dragons flying round it, it looked that large at least half a mile out, but that was still far too close for comfort.
Flames and explosions, and the odd unearthly scream, were evident as what appeared for all the world like a dogfight between dragons swept closer, and just as he was turning to the crowd to order them into a defensive formation, the ring was smashed in by an explosion. Out of the smoke, through the hole, the Nightmare rushed to join in the fight in the air, followed by... his son, a Terror on his shoulder, riding a dragon! Now everything made sense - well, everything he'd been puzzled about this morning made sense, but the question of why dragons were helping humans, or the one of why they were having a civil war, or for that matter the burning issue of what the Hel was going on, remained unanswered.
Though it was very impressive when Hiccup blew up the enormous foe after a crazed dogfight in the afternoon sun, that same Nightmare from the ring carefully guiding the Fury down after the tail fin Hiccup had made burned off.
A few miles away in a clearing, the Prime Loop Gobber and the Nightmare that should have been in the Ring rather than the Looping Sparklout were tied up, chained to the nearby rocks, with Fishlegs carefully explaining what had happened to those two and the Prime Fishlegs, who needed no restraint after it was explained that there would be a card game afterwards.
Always good to know your own weak points...
"I have a bad feeling about this, master."
The Jedi master nodded absently as his Padawan expressed his concerns over their training link. "Don't be worried, this is supposed to be a routine trade negotiation settlement."
"Around Loopers? Don't make me laugh."
Hiccup-Jinn turned to his pupil, Only-one Toothnobi, and bestowed a reproving glare upon his companion. "You know as well as I do that it's best to display moderation, at least until things go south. That way, we're not accountable."
"You realize this is Naboo, right? We're going to be attacked in minutes?"
"Not to worry." Hiccup reassured, then elaborated over the training link. "After all, if worst comes to worst, we can fight our way out – hang on." Hiccup looked the dragon over. "How the hell did you pass Lightsaber training? You don't have any prehensile limbs."
"That clip on tail fin, a lightsaber, half an hour in the machine shop and a great deal of practice."
"I suppose that makes sense. Awakening in a Loop in media res is annoying, though. Now-" The pulse of death rolled over their empathic senses as their cruiser was destroyed in a pretty blatantly evil act. "Damn, here we go."
Gas hissed into the room. The two took deep breaths, held them… and then Toothless sneezed.
Hiccup blinked soot out of his eyes, bits of conference table embedded in the walls. "Wow. So that stuff was flammable."
"Right, time to go get some answers." Hiccup cracked his knuckles, lit his 'saber, and he and Toothless began devastating the battle droids on the shortest path to the command deck.
"Where are those droidekas?"
Rune Hako pointed at a screen, showing the enormous reptilian Jedi busily using a droideka leg to pick bits of blaster rifle from between his claws.
"Damn your incompetence! There is only one option. Evacuate that corridor to space."
Hako complied hastily, and the two Jedi went flying out into low Naboo orbit.
"This is your fault, Master."
Hiccup sent a mental sigh. "Shut up, Toothless."
"Wesa give yousa una Bongo."
Toothless rolled his eyes, and spread his wings to their full span.
Hiccup put a steadying hand on the dragon's shoulder. "Do you have anything… larger?"
Boss Nass considered a moment. "Wesa give yousa una Bongo, SUV model."
"Perhaps we can maintain the element of surprise."
Hiccup looked incredulously at Captain Panaka. "My Padawan is a twenty foot fire breathing dragon with skin that can resist plasma bolts. We don't need the element of surprise."
"Tatooine. It's a desert planet, ruled by the Hutts."
"Hmm… no fish… but handy slug shaped snacks…" Toothless trotted off. "Let me know if you find anything edible up for grabs, I'm off to admire my hoard."
Hiccup said nothing. That was technically the royal treasury of Queen Astrid of Naboo, but since Toothless had been the one to carry it all to the ship, he was probably entitled to at least the loan.
"Damnit, Toothless, we need Anakin with us. Why did you have to do that?"
"You're just upset you didn't think of it first."
"You won the Boonta Eve race under your own power, then ate the sponsor!" Hiccup sighed to himself as the shore party pelted for the royal starship. "You're lucky you can catch up to us while we're in the air, because you are going to have to go and grab the parts, as well as both Anakin and Shmi from Watto."
"And how do I do that?" Toothless arrested his loping run, and began to sprint back to Mos Espa.
"Use the force." Hiccup thought a bit, then added over the bond, "Well, more specifically the state of matter known as plasma."
"Senator Palpatine, I'm pleased to-"
"Shiny!" Toothless broadcast uncharacteristically, and leapt at the Senator for Naboo.
"Only-one, get off the Senator!" Queen Astrid said forcefully to Hiccup as he walked casually over. "Why can't you control your Padawan, Master… Jedi?"
Toothless happily walked off, lashing his tail and clutching a Lightsaber that was clearly not his in his teeth. Hiccup lazily strolled over to the utterly startled Senator and dumped his backpack – a nutrient frame holding a little slug like creature – on the floor. "Surprised? Don't be… Darth Sidious. We knew about you from the very beginning, your blood samples on file gave us the midichlorian count we needed. All that was missing was this handy Ysalamari I picked up at a great price on Tatooine, and a chance to ambush you with it."
The senator twitched for his communicator. "Don't bother, my Padawan is already after your apprentice." Blue fire flashed in the sky, and a swoop bike fell in charred fragments. "And there we go."
Mace Windu and Kit Fisto charged onto the platform, stumbling as they entered the Force null field. "Master Jinn! What happened?"
Hiccup pointed to the Senator. "Sith." He gestured at the raining pieces of Swoop bike. "Sith. I would assume that the Senate is going to be a bit less recalcitrant to common sense now, and would recommend that Ysalamari be used to prevent any future manipulation of the chamber. Oh, and this boy here has more Force presence than Yoda. Someone offer to train him or I will."
"Okay, ready for this? Fastest blockade break on record. So much for that record Solo's so proud of – well, when he gets around to it anyway."
"You bet! Got everything?"
"Oxygen rebreather, skinsuit… yep, that's everything."
Toothless took to the air in a powerful downbeat of his wings, rising to about ten feet off the ground. "On three… two… one… go!"
The two Jedi vanished.
"We cannot determine what the best course of action is without news from Darth Sidious!" Gunray blustered from his holographic projection at Odi, the blockade control ship commander.
"Be that as it may, Sir, the control ship is ready to destroy the Gungan nation whenever it is ordered. I suggest we do so before they get organized."
While the two Trade Federation potentates debated…
In the access corridor to the Control Computer, a black shape appeared from nowhere.
"Eat hot plasma!"
"Look, Toothless, you know full well that plasma is almost by definition hot."
The Control Computer exploded violently, and the pair disappeared again.
The comm. link flickered and went dead.
"What?" Nute asked blankly.
"I don't know, it must have been some kind of mechanical fault."
All the droids fell over. Nice design for intimidation, but so unstable it literally took a supercomputer to keep them standing.
Just as the Nemoidans were contemplating this, the black form of the huge reptilian Jedi burst into existence in the appropriated throne room.
Hiccup slid off his friend's back. "Now, where were we last time we met? Something about negotiating to defuse hostilities over a trade deal?"
"I feel like we cheated somehow. This is now basically a holiday Loop."
"Meh, these things happen. Besides, I seem to recall that Yuuzhan Vong technology is edible."
Well, this is a first.
Hiccup blinked, then focused on the interior of the freight lift. "Are we in Anakin's loop again?" It looked like their last, massively disruptive, run through hadn't affected this iteration. Wonderful.
Yep. Second time in a row. And I have a feeling it's not the last.
"Oh, great." Hiccup then grinned. "And you're the same name as last time?"
Yep. Only-one Toothnobi. Laugh it up, Hiccup Skyfaller.
"Right, point to you. So. Plan?"
The same thing we do with every loop. Try to screw over everyone's minds.
Senator Astrid twitched in her sleep as the millipede – like insects crawled towards her form.
The malicious beasties scaled the legs of the bed, and began to climb onto her – and she reflexively threw an axe through the window, carrying the two Kouhun on the weapon straight into the hovering droid and smashed it to pieces.
Toothless loped past her and out the smashed window, heading for Zam Wesell through the air traffic.
Told you she could handle herself.
Hiccup went over to her, helping her to wake up properly. I didn't expect her to sleep with an axe under her pillow… in this Loop, anyway. I mean, she's not even Awake this time!
The librarian, Jocasta Nu, turned at the mental voice and pursed her lips. "Oh. You again."
I said I was sorry.
"You knocked over the entire shelves last time!" She threw her arms up. "You're just too big for the library. Big, and rather too clumsy on the ground."
Well… any idea where this came from?
Toothless brought his tail round. Dangling from the end was a bag containing a small metallic dart.
"Not at all. Hang on, where did you get this?"
Largest bit left of the Bounty Hunter I blew up.
"And I could swear it was your teacher who was heavily into disobedience. Look elsewhere."
"As you can see, the clones are nearly ready." The Kaminoan prime minister stepped aside, and gestured the visiting Jedi through the opening.
Toothless squeezed through the door into the overlook, and stopped dead.
THOSE HELBOUND THIRD COUSINS OF ICE TROLLS CLONED ME! UTTER NIMRODS! CHILDREN OF UNHOLY UNIONS BETWEEN BRACHIOPODS AND SHEEP!
Hiccup fell from his chair into the Naboo lakewater.
Er, Toothless, where are you? The Jedi are taking casualties, we're basically surrounded by far too many droids, and- Hiccup broke off a moment and set another droid regiment on fire –I'm actually starting to get tired.
A grin came over the training bond. Followed by a guitar solo.
"What the hell?" Hiccup muttered as he ducked another wildly enthusiastic axe blow from Astrid. "That sounds like Dragonforce."
Then the sky went black with the flickering appearance of over a hundred thousand teleporting Night Furies.
Toothless grinned fit to split his face in two. I hereby accept the surrender of the Republic and the Confederacy into the Empire of the Dragon.
Hiccup shook his head ruefully. "You've become a bit megalomaniacal, did you notice?"
I also name my pupil Hiccup as minister for being sensible.
"Well, I could get used to monarchy…"
Hiccup blinked, and was at the controls of a Jedi starfighter.
Woo. A third Loop in Anakin's world in a row.
Hiccup looked to the side, and stifled a snort of laughter.
Toothless was awkwardly crammed into the cockpit of his own fighter, leaving barely enough room to reach the control stick with his tail.
Let me guess, you're going to find this funny.
Not at all! Hiccup protested, his case weakened by the sense of hilarity flowing over the link.
Fine then. But this ship is about to just explode from the strain. Where's that hanger we're supposed to land in?
Hiccup held Count Dooku in a scissor grip, preventing him from moving.
"Well?" Palpatine asked. "What are you hanging around for? Kill him!"
Hiccup blinked. Turned to Dooku. "Any reason you can think of why he'd want you dead?"
Dooku shrugged as much as anyone could with a lightsaber on each side of their neck. "I assume it's related to the supposed kidnapping."
Toothless walked past Palpatine, giving him a look. Supposed kidnapping?
"He just turned up on the bridge of the ship as soon as I entered orbit. I certainly never sent any landing craft down. Why would I – I was lying in ambush."
Chancellor Palpatine, we will discuss this later. Now, all aboard.
"So. Why'd you let him off?"
So that the plan I have will be able to come to pass.
Toothless grinned. Candid photos!
"Chancellor Palpatine, you are under arrest for treason against the Republic."
"Oh? I think you'll have trouble arresting me-"
"Chancellor." Hiccup entered the room. "I just got back from a meeting involving me, a comlink, the security council and three slug-like tree dwellers. Meet the fifty thousand clone troopers who want to enforce Order 65. And their Ysalamari."
The window blew in with a hail of gunfire.
Hiccup blinked. What the hell?
Suddenly, he was on what his pre-Loop memories recalled to be an oil rig (of all things), with gigantic flying robots fighting all over the place.
Toothless? You there?
No response. Wherever his partner was, he wasn't organic.
So… memories of what had happened thus far.
As he absently drew a radiotelepathy nanite syringe from his subspace pocket and pricked his skin, he considered. Nothing much, except some strange rumors in the news of robots. Apparently more than just rumors.
…iccup? Your favourite dragon here. Good, you got the link up.
Toothless! What's going on?
The full mental contact version of a :-( came over the link. I think I'm scripted to be some kind of wannabe leader of the evil faction I'm part of. Meet up later?
"Wow… transforming robots. And I thought the Eva Loop was strange…"
"Tell me about it." Toothless grumbled. "Turning into a fighter jet is a little uncomfortable."
The two paused.
"So… this whole wannabe leader thing." Hiccup grinned. "Want to make it a reality?"
Toothless gave a metallic smile. "What did you have in mind?"
"Well, from what I saw, these so-called "Decepticons" are rubbish at actual military combat, and the "Autobots" are no better. They're used to battle being essentially along the lines of single combat or small group engagements…"
Hiccup reached into his subspace pocket again, and drew out a small transparent cuboid and a pair of electronic instruments that resembled chopsticks. "And we all know who're the best at small unit aerial combat, don't we?"
Toothless crouched down to see what Hiccup was doing. He recognized the pieces of equipment as the computing kit Hiccup had used back in the Cinnabar Loop when he replaced Adele Mundy, but what he was doing with them…
"Is that a dragon fighter variant?"
The Viking turned oil rig engineer nodded. "It's fully usable as an additional mode on your changer," he wove his data wands in complex patterns, calling up specifications on hundreds of weapons and ships from dozens of realities. "In addition to that, it's also about five times as combat capable as the Decepticion standard fighter in the air, with the dozens of rapid rate laser launchers replaced by a single mouth mounted 40cm hellbore. Take the Battle Screen and minimissiles into account and it becomes capable of fighting their entire air fleet at once."
"A 40cm Hellbore? What are you planning on us doing, blowing up anyone who disagrees?"
Hiccup looked confused. "Er, yes. Why, problem?"
"Lord Megatron! Starscream returns from his scouting mission!"
"I'm surprised." Megatron stood, and began walking to the entrance. "I suppose he's being followed? No other power but self preservation could make him come back on time."
Soundwave interjected. "Lord Megatron. Fifteen additional radar images of Starscream have appeared, and all have begun extreme manoeuvres".
Megatron clapped his face with his hand, producing a loud clang. "Or he could have decided to overthrow me."
A random Decepticon pointed skywards. "Seekers, to the sky! There is only one of him!"
Skywarp glanced at Thundercracker. "Seekers?"
"Just go with it."
Sitting in the cockpit on the back of Toothless' new alternate mode, Hiccup's data wands commanded all fifteen decoy missiles, bringing them in as a carefully coordinated weaving pattern intended to make it impossible to tell which was the true transformer without closing to visual range.
First enemy rising to combat altitude. Wands flashed. Identified: Sunstorm. Engaging with dogfighting missile salvo. A dozen high speed missiles shimmered off Toothless' wings, reaching out to englobe the Decepticon.
"Hah!" That fighter called. "You cannot possibly stop me with mere missiles! I am-" One of the Dazzler missiles seeded into the salvo detonated, blinding every frequency with strobing electromagnetic noise. "Gah!" Another dogfighting minimissile shot in at barely subsonic speed, then discarded the manoeuvre sabot and completed its' attack run by engaging a tiny inertialess drive coil.
Hiccup moved on to other targets as the .6 cee missile smashed Sunstorm into a dozen pieces.
Really, they had little chance. Hiccup was drawing off the advanced technology of about a half dozen different universes, using each to make up for the blind spots in the others.
A SKOOM of energy release tore the sky as Toothless used his new Hellbore on Skywarp, catching the tricksy teleporter between jumps and smashing his torso.
Thanks. Now, anything you can do about my cycle time? Three seconds is a long time in a fight.
Hiccup twitched a data wand, and more dogfighting missiles shot off their racks. Tell you what. If you manage to get two more of the Seekers before I flatten them all, you win a pony. Specifically, next time you're organic. As a snack.
Toothless boosted through the sound barrier. Sounds like a challenge to me!
Hiccup quickly retasked a missile and simply EMPed one of the Decepticons into the ground. That one was Thundercracker. I think he's a possible lieutenant for you.
Megatron ground his metal teeth as the traitor sharded the entire Decepticion air force. "Fine! I'll take him on myself!"
"Inadvisable. His main weapon is-"
"I am the strongest Decepticon, not him! I will win!"
Soundwave paused. "As you command." Private communication to Starscream: Are you hiring?
Private communication to Soundwave: Run.
Soundwave dove for cover as a hypervelocity missile salvo destroyed all the defence turrets around the Decepticon base and the hapless Reflectors manning them, then a bolt of fusing plasma blew Megatron's right arm off. Another HVM barrage excised all his remaining weapons, then the usurper flew down to land in front of Megatron. "Goodbye."
His Hellbore reloaded, Toothless blew Megatron to pieces.
"So you're telling me they actually pay for this?"
Thundercracker loaded another set of Energon cubes onto the newly rebuilt oil rig, and set them charging.
Hiccup nodded. "Yep, Enegron cubes are far more efficient than anything humans have and don't cause any kind of pollution. With the few % we're taking as payment for the service, this'll be more than enough to do the job."
"Cool. Uh, listen, I got a letter from the UN about "live fire exercises", and I want your advice."
Hiccup scanned the email. "Well, as far as I can see, they want someone to act as a "perfect enemy" in their fighter training exercises, so if you're fine with being shot at by weapons that can't do more than superficial damage, then go ahead."
"Would I be able to shoot back?"
The human thought. "Probably, if you keep it to weapons that don't badly damage or destroy the aircraft."
Thundercracker nodded. "Sign me up."
AN: So there we are. If anyone has other ideas for a world to cross with, let me know.