Hiccup stumbled through the forest, a mere boy of seven years, unable to understand why none in his village liked him. He did his best to fit in, talked often of killing dragons and fighting battles, and attempted to wrestle with his peers, but no matter what he did it just wasn't good enough. Couldn't they see that he was trying? He would never give up, despite his unhappiness his upbeat attitude wouldn't allow that, but as he grew older his sarcasm grew with him. He scowled, thinking of Snotlout's last insult, and wondered what he could have said in return, in order to stand up for himself.
Too lost in thought, Hiccup didn't pay attention to where he was walking and stumbled through a crack between two rocks. He fell onto a ledge above a valley he had never seen before. There was a small lake in the valley and Hiccup's curious mind pushed him to explore, temporarily forgetting the disappointment he was to his society.
He hurried down the steep slope, his small form easily navigating the cracks between rocks, and soon reached the lake's edge. Cupping his hands he scooped up some of the cool water and took a long sip, the walk having tired out his young body. When he had drunk his fill he sat back and laughed with joy. 'This is a place all my own!' he thought as he looked around the enclosed valley, 'no one else has been here before.' His young mind didn't think of his ancestors, who may have discovered the valley before, for all he cared was that he had a safe haven from his peers.
But Hiccup wasn't quite right in thinking that he was alone in the valley. A young dragon, injured wing by his side, had fallen there – buffeted and wounded by the storm that had occurred only a week ago. Hiccup's laugh startled him from his sleep and he jerked awake, opening his large yellow-green eyes and staring accusingly at the intruder. Hidden in the shadows as he was, Hiccup didn't notice the dragon at first, but the Night Fury was not short on curiosity either. He stood up slowly, slinking around the edge of the valley to investigate the young human that had intruded upon his temporary home. Weak with hunger, the young predator did not seem to realize how much noise he was making until the young human's head snapped up, their eyes meeting.
Instantly Hiccup's eyes widened in fear and he scrambled to get up, backing away until he was against the cliff wall. Unknowingly, the Night Fury had approached from the side of the cove that held the only entrance – Hiccup was trapped. The two stared at each other, Hiccup frozen with fear and the dragon struck by curiosity. He was young enough that he had seldom seen humans, and none this close, or this young.
They remained that way for some time, but when it became clear that the dragon was not going to attack Hiccup relaxed, his own curiosity overcoming his fear. For all his and his peers' boasting of how they would kill a dragon they were still too young to participate in the raids. He had seen a dragon before – occasionally they would have to evacuate the house they were in when it caught on fire – and he certainly knew all the types of dragons common on Berk – people talked about them often enough – but he didn't recognize the dragon in front of him.
"Night Fury?" he whispered questioningly, staring at the black dragon in front of him.
At the sound of the human's speech the dragon in question tilted his head, narrowing his eyes aggressively at the intruder. He lifted his lip, growling slightly, and Hiccup pressed himself back against the cliff wall, the fear returning. Eventually he had the idea to slide himself along the wall and so, slowly but surely, he managed to make his way back to the entrance. He hurried upward, racing back in the direction he had come. Before he knew it young Hiccup had returned to the village, fueled by adrenaline and fear. He gasped wildly, telling all he could find about the wild dragon he had seen in the woods. Within a few hours though, he had given up. No one had believed him about the dragon, and so he told no one of the cove he had found.
The next day he returned to the cove, inching in slowly. The majority of his brain insisted that the dragon would have left by now – for he had not noticed the injured appendage – but some part of him was hoping it had not. Some part of him longed for another glimpse of the legendary dragon. This time he paused on the ledge, searching for the Night Fury (for he had confirmed that it was indeed a member of the unseen species), but he didn't have to look far before spotting him. The large creature was by the lakeside, sticking his head in wildly, attempting to catch a fish but clearly failing. The Night Fury was nothing if not persistent though, and in the long while in which he attempted to find a meal Hiccup took the time to pull out his notebook, drawing a quick sketch of the dragon.
It was then that he noticed the wound on the dragon's wing, and the protective way he kept it close to his body. His mind thinking furiously, Hiccup left the cove again, a crazy idea coming forming in his head.
It was a week after his first sighting that Hiccup finally mustered the courage to carry out his crazy plan. He returned to the cove a third time, fish in his hands and medicine at his belt, wrapped up in an old shirt of his. This time the dragon was again dozing, but in plain sight, and Hiccup cautiously made his way down to the bottom of the cove. The Night Fury perked up as he approached, but he was weak with hunger and did little more than watch warily as the boy approached, sniffing as he spotted the cod in the boy's arms. He longed to eat but he still had no reason to trust the young human and growled when Hiccup got too close. Hiccup hesitated, but the low growl was the only sign of aggression from the beast and he inched slightly closer.
This time the dragon narrowed his eyes, barring his teeth and growling louder. Hiccup stopped, doubt flooding his mind, and held out the fish, not daring to come any closer. The dragon sniffed again, stretching his neck toward the fish, but he made no move to approach the Viking. Thinking quickly, Hiccup tossed the cod in front of the Night Fury, hoping to move in while the reptile was distracted.
The Night Fury sniffed the fish once but was too hungry to examine it further. He gulped it up in one swallow, giving Hiccup no time to approach. Hiccup narrowed his eyes thoughtfully, realizing that one fish was nowhere near enough for a starving dragon, but he was unwilling to leave so soon. He inched closer, sitting as close as he dared to the dragon that he imagined could probably swallow him whole. Hiccup was not a large Viking by any means but what he lacked in physical stature he made up for with his emotional stature. Though he didn't quite realize it, he was one of the bravest Vikings around, for not many would approach a Night Fury unarmed, and fewer still would have at the tender age of seven. But Hiccup wasn't aware of any of this, not concerned with his bravery as he contemplated how to help the dragon.
They remained that way for some time, once again staring at each other, neither budging from their spot. Eventually though the sun began to fall in the sky and Hiccup stood, walking to the edge of the cove. He knelt, grabbing several sticks and crafting a miniature lean-to for the medicine he had at his belt. He did not want to take it back to the village nor did he want it spoiled by bad weather. When he was satisfied that his lean-to would hold he stood, sent one last glance back at the dragon, and left the cove.
Young and innocent as he was, Hiccup did not realize how much it meant that he had turned his back on the Night Fury. To any forest animal, to turn your back indicated a deep level of trust, showing that you trusted the other not to attack you while your back was turned. It meant a lack of fear, and while it could have been a foolish gesture to a more dangerous predator the Night Fury was more intelligent than your average beast. He was in no shape to attack, but also intrigued by the young human's trust.
The next day Hiccup returned again, a small basket of fish upon his back and one in his hands. This time as he approached the dragon stood, approaching him. Hiccup stopped his movements, startled by the turn of events, but nevertheless held out the fish for the hungry dragon. The Night Fury opened his mouth – startling Hiccup for a moment with the lack of teeth – and snapped his teeth into place, quickly gulping down the fish again. Hiccup sat, placing the basket next to him, and the dragon copied his movements, resting back on his haunches. Hiccup watched curiously as the dragon he had recently dubbed 'Toothless' began to cough, hacking up part of the fish he had so recently eaten and dropping it into Hiccup's hands. He held it reluctantly, unsure of how to react while the dragon stared at him expectantly.
Following the dragon's gaze from the fish in his hands to his mouth and back again Hiccup quickly realized what the Night Fury expected of him. He frowned but followed suit, as yet unaware of just how unappealing raw fish was. His first bite quickly rectified that lack of knowledge though and it took prompting from the dragon to force him to swallow. He offered a weak smile, not wanting to disappoint his new found friend – not to mention a dangerous dragon – and was surprised when the dragon attempted to replicate his actions.
His smile morphed into a more genuine expression as he realized how intelligent the dragon truly was, before this he had only seen them as mindless killers, and any fear that had remained quickly fell away. He shifted onto his knees, rising slightly, and slid the basket in front of him. "Here Toothless," he spoke quietly, opening the basket and tipping it onto the ground in front of the Night Fury. The dragon's ears perked up at the new name but his eyes remained fixated on the basket as the fish spilled out.
The dragon sufficiently distracted Hiccup stood, finally getting the chance to examine the wounded wing. It was quite badly damaged, and would take a while to heal, but even Hiccup's inexperienced mind was able to determine that it would leave no permanent damage.
Unfortunately, Hiccup was still small, and the basket of fish he had carried even more so, and it wasn't long before Toothless realized that the young human was examining his wing. He growled lightly, not so much to scare Hiccup but to warn him to stay away, and fled, standing a safe distance away from the Viking.
Hiccup felt disappointment at having been unable to help his new-found friend but it did not dampen his resolve.
Day after day Hiccup returned to the cove, bringing food whenever he could. Often he and the Night Fury did not interact, each sitting in their own corner of the cove left to their own thoughts. Despite the lack of interaction they grew comfortable with each other and Toothless no longer growled when the boy approached. Eventually, two and a half weeks after Hiccup's initial meeting with the dragon, he was allowed to touch the Night Fury's wing.
Though Toothless growled when he touched it, Hiccup could tell it was a growl of pain and frustration, one not directed at Hiccup but rather at his wound. Having grown up a Viking, in a village that experienced frequent dragon raids, Hiccup had seen many people clean and dress wounds (though admittedly there wasn't much cleaning going on in Berk) and was able to adequately coax Toothless into the lake, hoping to clean his wound. With much fidgeting on the part of the dragon, the wound was eventually cleaned and dressed with the herbs Hiccup had brought so long ago. He had also attempted to bandage the wound, but the wing was large and he had been unable to. Instead he had settled for scolding Toothless, instructing him to keep his wing out of the dirt.
A month passed in this manner and, though he didn't show it among his peers, Hiccup began to grow more confident in himself. Often he and Toothless would play, racing around the small cove or swimming in the lake, and as the dragon's wound healed they spent quite a bit of time together, beginning to understand each other's quirks and oddities, their likes and dislikes. Hiccup learned that Toothless hated eel and loved to be scratched. Toothless learned that Hiccup quickly grew depressed when talking about his home – often nudging him whenever he went off on a tangent – and that Hiccup was very clever.
By the time Toothless' wound had healed a lean-to had been constructed in the cove – a nicely built fort that Hiccup had constructed and designed himself. The dragon and Viking were now the best of friends and could almost understand each other's words. Yet despite this closeness, Hiccup was worried that Toothless would leave him now that he could fly again. Insecure as always, he couldn't help but feel that Toothless had only liked him for the food and medicine he had provided. Hiccup's fears were unfounded though, as Toothless was about to prove to him.
Hiccup gave his friend the all clear, looking over his friend's wing one last time. "You're all clear buddy," he said easily, trying not to convey his trepidation as he stepped away.
Toothless' eyes lit up as he shook himself with happiness, unfurling his wings fully for the first time in almost three months. He hunkered down, about to take off, but paused, glancing back at the Viking who had returned his flight to him earlier than he expected, and who had become his friend in the months they spent together. Hiccup watched, puzzled, as Toothless looked from him to his own back and then back again. 'Come with me,' he seemed to be saying.
Hiccup's own eyes lit up with wonder as he fully realized what Toothless was offering. He had thought of riding the dragon before, soaring through the skies with a view that no Viking had ever had before, but this was Toothless' first flight on his 'new' wings. It was a special thing, as the Night Fury would prove that he belonged in the sky, and Toothless wanted to share it with Hiccup. He hesitated but Toothless didn't budge, staring at him expectantly, and he grinned, running over to Toothless and climbing up onto his back. His small legs quickly struggled to hold on and he leaned over, hugging the dragon's neck.
Toothless took off quickly with a powerful stroke of his wings, speeding high into the sky, but he slowed down soon enough, mindful of the rider on his back. Together they glided through the sunset, reveling in the glory of the flight, and Hiccup's hold began to lessen as his curiosity overtook his fear. He could feel his friend's powerful muscles straining underneath him, longing to be free, and before long he nudged them toward a cliff face, asking Toothless to land. As much as he loved the feeling of flying with his dragon he knew he was holding Toothless back.
Toothless acquiesced, landing gently on the cliff, and Hiccup slid off as easily as his small body could manage. Without words Toothless understood what Hiccup was doing and sent his rider a look of gratitude. 'Thanks' he appeared to say, taking off faster than before as he strained his unused muscles. He shot forward, quickly disappearing from Hiccup's sight, but all fear Hiccup had of Toothless leaving had vanished when he first sat on the dragon's back.
He sat down, content to wait, and pulled out his notebook – already planning several saddle designs. Gobber had recently apprenticed him in the forge – one of the few Vikings who acknowledged his existence – and he was already thinking of which metal he would use and how to forge it. He was so excited he didn't dwell on the fact that it would be a long while before he was able to forge anything, small and inexperienced as he was. For now he would make do with what he had. Leather he could get easily enough.
By the time Toothless returned Hiccup had already planned several saddle designs. He showed them eagerly to Toothless but the Night Fury only yawned, worn out from his long flight. His yawn only served to remind Hiccup how late it was and he climbed aboard his dragon once more, hugging tightly as Toothless led them back to the cove. Once there Toothless used his lightning to light a small fire in the much used pit and Hiccup leaned against Toothless, modifying his designs by the light of the fire. As Toothless fell asleep beneath him Hiccup too drifted off and boy and dragon slept together under the starry skies.
The years passed and Hiccup and Toothless began to understand each other more and more, communicating in a language that no other Viking had spoken before. The lean-to in the cove grew with them, filled with things Hiccup brought from Berk but did not return, old saddles that he had outgrown, and other odds and ends. It became a regular hut and every now and again Hiccup spent the night in the cove, falling asleep before he could return to Berk – though more often than not he slept beside Toothless and not in the shelter of his hut. If Hiccup was bothered by how little he was missed he stopped showing it. Though he still spoke to Toothless about his troubles in the village he began to care less and less with the goings-on of Berk. He even began to refer to it as 'Berk' or 'the village' in his head, not 'home' or 'my village'. He was careful enough not to stay out too often, even the village misfit can be missed, but nobody was ever sorry to see him go. His mishaps in the forge and his clumsiness on the ground did not endear him to the village folk any more than his unnatural smallness and his lack of a desire to kill dragons.
And so Hiccup and Toothless grew together, living in the cove off Raven's Point, and becoming far more together than anyone ever thought they would be alone. They faced few challenges, alone as they were, but of course such peace never lasts - and every Viking has to go through Dragon Training.
AN: Well, I hoped you liked it. This wasn't really something I had planned out - I really should be writing other things - more of a spur of the moment idea that I really wanted to write out. I have an idea of how this would alter the movie but I may or may not write it. Let me know if you think I should continue and whether or not you liked it! Thanks for reading!