...and finally the epilogue. I'd just like to apologise to all about the seemingly soppy nature of this conclusion - I simply tried to do a happy ending, but must have overdone it. Also, please stop asking questions about the planned sequels - yes, Hiccup's past seven years will be covered in detail, and yes I will try to resolve any existing continuity crises, but apart from that it's all a surprise.
Toothless was at peace as well.
The black dragon loved the attention and affection of the Viking crowd, and the awed admiration he received from the other dragons for what he and his rider had done.
Hiccup thought he owed the Night Fury everything that he owned...his freedom, his sanity, his sense of self-worth and even his life.
But if this were the case, then Toothless' respect and gratefulness towards the young man was so many times greater.
Hiccup though he had done the Night Fury a grievous injury the day he shot Toothless out of the sky, tearing off a tail fin in the process.
But what he had really done was pulled the black dragon out of a torturous life of terrible servitude, and taught him to think and act like a wild dragon would.
And as the two of them had then been sent into exile together, they had learned from each other until both had mastered their weaknesses and learned to live and fight alongside one another as two parts of the same whole.
And for all this, Toothless thought, he owed the Vikings of Berk a twisted kind of thanks.
For in essence, it was really they who had set in motion a chain of events which had ultimately led down the path to the death of the tyrannical Dragon King and the freeing of his miserable subjects.
Laughing inwardly at this supreme, if somewhat warped logic, Toothless turned his mind to look at the Viking villagers, considering them one by one.
From what he had heard, Gobber the blacksmith had been the one human who had, aside from training Hiccup in the art of smithing and crafting, been the only person who had at all times acted in a friendly manner towards the boy.
Giving Hiccup gentle encouragement and occasionally a brusque push in the right direction had been his main influence in the brown-haired man's pained childhood, and Toothless could not hate him for it.
The other young Vikings, the rest of what Hiccup had infrequently referred to as 'the gang' had been the ones who had given the boy so much grief, all those years ago.
But the fact that they had not only showed some level regret and remorse upon Hiccup's arrival back at Berk, but also placed themselves in terrible danger riding with him into battle against the Red Death had endeared them somewhat to the Night Fury, and he had already forgiven each and every one of them individually.
Stoick was a bit of a bump in the road to forgiving the Viking village its wrongs and simply living as a part of it.
If he had only been more supportive of his son's imaginative and abstract nature, if he had perhaps accepted Hiccup's notion seven years ago to make peace with the dragons, if he had not felt it necessary to banish his only son out into the wide world at the fresh age of only thirteen...but Toothless would no longer speculate on what could have been.
The Viking chieftain had shown true grit and love for his son in his decision to let Hiccup keep his knee even at the risk of deadly infection, thereby allowing the boy's companion to keep the power of flight...Oh yes, Hiccup would learn to fly with that new leg of his, even if it took them years, and Toothless was thankful to Stoick for it.
But Astrid was a real pickle, one which had already soured in spite of having been freshly washed and cleaned – abandoning this wildly complicated metaphor as quickly as he could, the Night Fury considered the young woman's actions and intentions.
Both seemed now as clear, clean and shining as northern ice in the sunlight, but the shadow of anger and dislike cast by the clouds of old memories stained the pristine white layer with a blotch of deepest grey; this comparison seemed a little more suitable.
Toothless was constantly frustrated and unnerved by the beautiful woman's seductive glances and frequent blushing intended for Hiccup; he would not see the young man's heart destroyed by a relationship with the girl who had so long ago attempted to do just so, willingly or not.
But yet...Hiccup had considered her and all she had done, searching him out and bringing him home to a grand and happy welcome.
And even if it had cost the boy his leg and almost his life, he had still forgiven her for everything.
And if Hiccup could, then so could Toothless.
It was a warm and windy day upon which echoed the Night Fury's innermost feelings, as finally began to trust, respect and appreciate the people who had so long been his sworn enemies, and Toothless hoped that it would stay that way for a very long time.
To be continued...
Part Three will be commencing soon - I can't give an exact date, but it will probably be Sunday week, that's the 8th of July. From there on, I'll probably go back to the two week schedule.
Until then, happy reading! I do hope this inspires others to write! This story was mostly driven forward by the writings of the author I mentioned previously - his main story is Hero of the Day.