Well, here we are then.
My very first fan fiction ever (published, that is).
You'd think a 19-year-old university student would have better things to do than write endless chapters on this kind of film, but, since I first watched it back in March 2011, it has (quite literally) dominated my waking thoughts and dreams.
Sad, I know, but true.
I've read a few other pieces of writing by other HtTYD fan fiction authors, and figure "hey, I may as well share what I've got with you guys out there!" So please, rate and review to your hearts' content.
I don't care what you've got to say, any kind of feedback is appreciated.
I'd recommend you familiarise (no, sorry, I'm not American/Canadian) yourselves with the movie thoroughly before reading.
And now, without further ado, here it is.
Chapter One: A Near Miss
Astrid stopped, axe held back above her head, ready to throw.
Hiccup stood staring at her, quite surprised and a little frightened; she had almost taken his head off.
During the brief moment in which the pair simply stood gaping at each other, Astrid noticed the large bundle of – well, whatever it was that the boy was carrying.
But before Astrid could speak a word, the chief's son turned away, hurrying off into the forest, obviously not in a talking mood.
"Where is he going?" Astrid thought to herself, a deep, unexplainable curiosity awakening within her.
Rarely was the Viking girl interested in Hiccup's petty little capers, but perhaps this had something to do with the boy's new-found talent at dealing with dragons; certainly a matter which warranted investigation.
Stealthily tailing the teen boy at a reasonable distance, Astrid vaguely pondered Hiccup's sudden wave of successes in the dragon ring.
How had he gone from being, well, Hiccup, to being one of the most proficient Vikings in Berk at subduing dragons?
And the manner in which he performed these seemingly effortless tasks was just bizarre; not once had he actually tried to fight the beasts – Astrid's mind was suddenly jolted back to the fully conscious world, as she almost toppled over the edge of a cliff.
Ducking down behind a sizeable boulder, the young girl caught sight of her quarry making his way cautiously through a slit in the rocky walls, and down into a large, roughly ovalesque clearing.
This great cleft in the forest floor was stretched a veritable quarter of a mile across, and reached another 30 yards in depth, containing a small lagoon in the centre.
Climbing slowly down, Astrid watched as Hiccup reached the bottom, carefully jumping down the last leg, still deftly carrying his bundle of leather straps and other riding paraphernalia – wait, riding.
"Weird..." but Astrid had no time to dwell on this new observation, as Hiccup was now acting very strangely.
"Old habits die hard, I guess," scoffed the Viking shield-maiden, yet with a slight smile playing around her face.
"Hey Toooothless! Toothless! Come on, bud! Toooothless!" Hiccup was calling as he unpacked from his bundle a lumpy parcel of what looked to be fish.
Fish, of all things...
That boy never ceased to amaze – and then Astrid received one of the greatest shocks of her life.
A large, black dragon came bounding out from behind a clump of bushes on the opposite side of the clearing, and half flapped- half ran around the edge of the lagoon, wearing what was unmistakably a look of expectant delight on its smooth face.
Astrid immediately ducked down behind the nearest rock to her location, which was unluckily half way up the only track in or out of the great forest clearing.
For several seconds, she sat there, heart pounding furiously against her ribcage, clutching her axe tightly with white knuckles, until – "Oh great Odin's beard – Hiccup!" Looking out around the boulder behind which she had hidden, weapon in hand, Astrid prepared to go to that little fool's rescue yet again.
But just as she was about to shout out to Hiccup to run for his life, Astrid Hofferson witnessed something astounding.
The great black beast was standing next to Hiccup, wolfing down the fish that the chief's son had brought for it, purring contentedly while the young Viking scratched its scaly, black hide.
There was no aggression present whatsoever between Viking and dragon, no hint of fear at all, neither from Hiccup nor the dragon.
"Impossible..." murmured Astrid, eyes wide, utterly bewildered by what she beheld; a bond of friendship and trust that seemed to transcend any words the young girl tried to use to describe it.
There was a kind of mutual understanding between Hiccup and the dragon he had called 'Toothless.' "But it does have teeth..." whispered Astrid to herself, still with that unusual smile on her face as she watched the black beast consume fish at a rate that seemed almost physically impossible.
She didn't recognise this dragon from the book, which she had practically memorised from cover to cover.
"What are you?" Astrid thought to herself, watching from cover as Hiccup now began to fit what seemed to be another part of the dragon's harness – wait, harness?
Surely he didn't ride that thing, did he?
Astrid's question was not left unanswered for long, as Hiccup had soon finished his modifications to the stirrups, which were clearly intended for human feet.
The dragon had also finished its meal, leaving only a single smoked eel lying on the lush grass beside the lagoon.
"Ah, sorry about that bud," Hiccup smiled nervously, as the black beast began to growl irritably, looking from the Viking boy to the slimy fish and back again, evidently incensed at the youth's apparently unintentional cheek.
"I was in a hurry this morning, and I kind of forgot to check what I was grabbing from the stores..." But Hiccup's excuse was ill received, as the dragon continued to growl, now nudging the boy with its scaly head.
Hiccup quickly kicked the eel into the lake, and the dragon shook its head, huffing as if to say 'you-should-have-known-better-than-to-bring-me-that-so-no-excuses-next-time'.
"Feeling up for some flying practise bud?" asked Hiccup, a slight grin on his goofy features, and the great black beast immediately snapped its head towards him, trilling in a excited fashion, a look of joy on its smooth, scaly face.
Watching with a weird combination of amazement and fear, Astrid just marvelled, eyes wide, as the chief's son, young Hiccup the Useless, actually mounted the dragon and sat atop it, just as one would on any ordinary beast of burden.
But Toothless was the complete opposite of any semi-domesticated animal that Astrid Hofferson had ever seen before in her life.
And to top it all off, the fire-breathing monster actually looked thrilled...if that's what it was.
Astrid was already beginning to gain an understanding of how the dragon's face expressed its emotions, just like any human's would.
And this, more than anything, made her feel deeply unsettled.
These beasts were meant to be dumb, witless, horrid creatures without any sense of self-awareness, let alone the capacity for deep emotions and critical thought – And then they were off.
As the pair of opposites took off in flight, awestruck Astrid could only stare in shock and disbelief.
She knew that Hiccup was one odd kid, and that he had always been the one to take a step to the side in the logical continuation of any crazy situation.
But to tame and befriend a dragon?
And to then have the gall to fly it?
This required something else, a quality that Astrid was sure she had never seen in any other Viking before today.
But as the boy and his dragon disappeared above the canopy of leaves high above, she shook her head slowly, eyes wide with amazement.
The wind playing in the treetops seemed to sigh and whisper, giving the whole scene an ethereal feel.
After several minutes of just sitting there in contemplation, the young girl slowly gathered her thoughts and began to make her way out of the clearing and back through the forest towards Berk.
A hint of some kind of beautiful magic still lingered in the air, as though Hiccup's treacherous friendship with the black worm was almost...sorcerous.
The warm, balmy afternoon seemed entirely out of sync with what Astrid was now feeling.
The chattering of birds and the rustle of the wind in the boughs above fell dead upon the Viking girl's ears.
Reaching the outskirts of the village, Astrid now felt sure that she had never felt less sure about what she now felt.
What did she feel?
Confusion, for a start...but then, anger, at Hiccup's betrayal of his fellow Vikings?
Fear, that he would bring death and destruction down upon the village through his rash actions?
Jealousy, that he now, for the first time in ages, had something that she did not?
It was quite a maelstrom of thoughts and emotions that all fought for space in Astrid's mind that Summer's afternoon outside the Viking village of Berk, one that would not truly settle for a very long time.
I hope some of you are starting to get an inkling (or 50) of where this might be going.
Next chapter in a week's time...possibly earlier (can't really stress the "possibly" enough, as I currently have exams to deal with).