Author's Note: This is an AU, and in this case that means the dragon raid happened earlier in the year than it did in the movie. I was hoping I wouldn't have to tell you, but someone told me that (I'm quoting now) "he would not have made friends with a dragon, and make a new tail in the time frame of some minutes." So yeah... The person was an Anon, so I couldn't really explain this privately. :)

"Is this some kind of a joke to you?" Astrid was furious. "Our parent's war is about to become ours," If that fishbone had been paying attention like he should have been, she would have killed that dragon. "Figure out which side you're on!" She thrust her axe at the small figure curled on the ground.

She glared at him as he peered up at her, preparing to continue her rant. "You had NO right-" Astrid got no farther than that.

Her target had stumbled to his feet, glancing nervously at her before running out of the Training Ring. Her eyes narrowed. He wasn't getting away that easily. "HICCUP! GET BACK HERE!" She screamed, sprinting after him.

Hiccup threw a glance over his shoulder as he ran, stumbling and almost running into something as he did so. He wasn't sure why he'd run away like that...

Run away... His eyes widened. Of course! He could run away from Berk, live on some other island with Toothless. They wouldn't have to worry about getting caught, and Hiccup wouldn't have to leave his dragon's side. It wasn't as if anyone here would miss him. His problems were solved. But first, he had to get rid of Astrid. Was she still following him? Yes, she was.

He changed his course immediately, weaving through the marketplace. He had an advantage there, with his small stature. He needed to go to the forge first. He narrowly dodged a viking with a wheelbarrow, dashing into an alley way. He could still hear Astrid yelling at him, but her voice was fading a bit. Good, he was losing her. He made it out of the twisting maze of houses in record time and slowed as he reached the forge.

"Okay... I'll need a basket, and some leather..." He grabbed a woven basket and shoved several tanned hides into it. He knew he didn't have much time, so he grabbed everything he could. "Needle, thread... I'll need my tools, too... I don't think anyone else wants them anyway... Ah, my work apron... Some charcoal, paper! I need paper..." He looked around frantically, and eventually just swept everything off his desk into the basket.

He looked around one more time, then peeked out the door. Sure enough, Astrid was storming towards the forge, scowling angrily. Hiccup took a second to think about how pretty she looked when she was mad, then crept out the back door. He waited until Astrid burst into the building before taking off again, headed for his house. He needed spare clothes, and he had to pick up his notebook. Good thing he left the riding gear in the Cove. Oh, he had to get every drawing he had of Toothless, too. Didn't want anyone seeing those...

He was pretty sure Astrid had learned some of the colourful phrases she was screaming from the twins. He was also sure the entire village could hear her at the moment. He panted as he ran. Why did his house have to be at the top of a hill? He risked another glance back.

"I AM GOING TO KILL YOU! NOBODY RUNS AWAY FROM ME!" Astrid screamed. She looked for the slight figure, spotting him as he disappeared into his home, carrying something. "Hiccup! GET BACK HERE!" She was glad Stoick wasn't home. He probably wouldn't take kindly to her barging into his house like she was about to.

She raised her axe and charged up the hill with a Viking war cry. It was for show, of course. She wasn't going to chop up the Chief's door, or anything like that. Just his son. She turned the doorknob and entered, suddenly remembering she hadn't actually been IN the Chief's house before...

She looked around. Stoick's house looked pretty much like anyone else's, but it was bigger. Much bigger. She hurried up the stairs to the loft, because she hadn't seen any sign of Hiccup downstairs.

Her eyes widened. Hiccup's room was not bare, as she'd assumed it would be. Paper covered the walls, desk, and even the bed. Astrid's mouth dropped open. Hiccup could draw. She shook herself out of the reverie. She could make Hiccup show her his drawings later, she had to catch him now. She checked under the bed. Nothing. She shivered slightly as a breeze ruffled her hair. Wait... A breeze? She turned to the wall with a window and cursed. It was open and she just caught a glimpse of brown as it hurried into the trees.

It took her no time to reach the ground, having taken the same route as Hiccup. She sprinted into the forest, cursing. She almost lost him several times. He ducked past a rock several yards ahead of her and she couldn't see him anymore. She ran forward, almost there...

Then she heard it. Wing beats. Dragon. She cursed again, hitting the ground as she'd been taught. If you aren't prepared to defend yourself, hide. Astrid didn't have a shield to protect herself with.

Then she thought of Hiccup. Skinny, weak Hiccup who couldn't have defended himself from a dragon if he'd wanted to. He was completely unprotected. Astrid pushed herself to her feet and sprinted faster than ever before with a new goal in mind. Protect Hiccup. If anything happened to him, Stoick would break. It had happened before, when Valhallarama died. They'd been without a Chief for months. Astrid feared if it happened again, he might not recover.

"Hiccup!" She ducked past the rock and stopped, scanning the beautiful cove in front of her. There was nothing there, but Astrid wasn't stupid, and she could easily see something had been there. And not just anything, either. A dragon had been here. Claw marks marred the rocks and the ground was charred in places. She scrambled down to the bottom and looked around, frowning. There wasn't any way in or out besides the way she'd entered.

"Hiccup! Get out here!" She called, hoping he'd respond. He didn't. She began walking around, looking for him. The dragon seemed to have gone away, so her confidence returned in force.

She frowned when she caught sight of a shield stuck between two rocks. Was that what he'd gone to the forge for? A trickle of dread filled her heart. Did Hiccup come here to fight the dragon? He wouldn't stand a chance against a Terrible Terror, let alone whatever had taken up residence here. Wait... Was that a dragon scale? It was. Astrid's eyes widened. "...Okay, but I got a Night Fury. It's not like the last few times, Dad, I really actually hit it, it went down just off Raven Point. Lets get a search party out there, before..." He hadn't been lying? She stared at the dark scale in her hand. He'd actually got it. But... Now it seemed more like it got him.

She looked down. No one had believed Hiccup when he told them about the Night Fury. If they had, would things be different? Something glinting in the shallows of the lake caught her eye. Metal? She walked over to it and her heart nearly stopped as her suspicions were confirmed. That was Hiccup's dagger.

He always carried it with him, tucked into his vest. There was no way it could have fallen out.

But if he'd dropped it when trying to defend himself... Astrid suddenly felt like she was going to cry. She held back the tears like any Viking would, and thought about the scrawny son of the Chief. He caused so much trouble, but... never on purpose. He only ever wanted to help. If anyone deserved to die, it wasn't Hiccup. Astrid wished the dragon had taken Mildew the Unpleasant instead. Nobody would have mourned him.

She took one more look around the clearing and ran back to the village, her expression grim. She had to tell the tribe about this.

Gobber waited patiently for the ship to dock. It was two weeks since Astrid came running into the village square screaming that Hiccup had been taken by a dragon and they'd volunteered him to tell Stoick about it. He watched as the beaten vessel bumped up against the pier and Vikings becan pouring out. He saw the Chief then, face stony, and wished he didn't have to say anything.

"Well... I trust you found the nest, at least?" He asked hopefully. If Stoick found the nest, maybe he'd be distracted from his grief.

"Not even close."

No such luck, thought Gobber. "Ah. Excellent."

"Hope you had a little more success than me." Gobber winced. He'd hoped his friend wouldn't ask.

"Well... If by success you mean your parenting troubles are over with, then... Yes?" Gobber was never good at subtlety, but he was trying his best.

Stoick looked at him, but before he could say anything, Helga trotted past on her way to help unload the boat. "Congratulations Stoick! Everyone's so relieved!"

Gobber cringed. This wasn't going as well as he'd hoped. More Vikings rushed past, each shouting something helpfully at the Chief.

"Ou' with the old, 'n in with the new, eh Stoick?"

"No one'll miss tha' old nuisance!"

"The village is throwin' a party to celebrate!"

Stoick frowned, looking at Gobber. "He's gone?"

Gobber figeted. "Um... Ehh, yeah. Young Astrid Hofferson came runnin' inta th' square bou' two weeks ago wi' th' news. He was taken by a... Night Fury. 'Strid took us t' a cove, an' we found claw marks, charred ground... Black scales. There was a shield, lodged between two rocks, an Astrid found the boy's dagger in the water. We searched, bu' there was nothin' else t' find."

"No... Not Hiccup, no, no... They got Valhallarama, they can't- Not Hiccup too, not my son..." Stoick whispered brokenly, staring at Gobber. He turned suddenly and stomped towards his home. Gobber looked after him worriedly.

"Well tha' went well..." He muttered. Then frowned. Sarcasm made him think of Hiccup and he'd really been fond of the boy. If only they'd listened to him. Then he wouldn't have gone to kill a Night Fury with nothing but a dagger.

Stoick's mood wouldn't improve when he learned that all the training dragons escaped just a week after the Night Fury took his son.

"Barring the first chapter, this is a good story. My problem with the start is that, aside from Astrid's inexplicable need to chase down Hiccup, you use the joking reaction of Stoick to comments about Hiccup as the correct assumption. The village vikings aren't THAT heartless; Stoick is just using Occam's razor and filling in the blanks. No way would the village react that way if Hiccup died; it's totally OOC."

I guess I need to explain this a bit more, huh? Astrid's chasing Hiccup because A) she's mad at him and wants someone to yell at and B) he ran away from her. And of course it's OOC. THIS IS AN AU. How many times do I have to say that?

And to the other complaining Anon, I am aware that Hiccup's speech is annoying. It was annoying to write and it's annoying to read. But it IS necessary.