How to train your Nation
It was just before dawn on the island of Berk when Peter was jolted awake by a loud roar from outside. Hastily throwing his clothes on, the youngster raced down from his room and to the front door. Opening it with some caution, he saw a Monstrous Nightmare hovering in pursuit of some of the locals. Catching sight of the boy, the dragon spewed fire at him, prompting him to slam the heavy wooden door shut. He gasped in both wonder and horror.
Opening the door again and making a run for the smithy, he saw the chaos erupt in the predawn light as humans and dragons fought viciously over the village's livestock. As he made his way through the throngs of violence, many of the villagers yelled at him to get inside and under cover. Just as he was about to run into the smithy, his feet left the ground as he was picked up effortlessly by a tall, red-haired man.
"WHAT is he doing out again?!"
Turning to the boy, oblivious to the dragon spewing fire not six feet away, he repeated the question.
"What are you doing out? Get inside!"
Dropping the boy, the man seized a piece of wood nearby and hurled it like a javelin at a Deadly Nadder nearby trying to make off with an entire net of fish. Screeching, the dragon dropped the net and flew off lopsidedly. Nodding in satisfaction, the man turned to another nearby.
"What've we got?"
The armoured man responded quickly.
"Nadders, Gronkles, Zipplebacks, and Berwald saw a Monstrous Nightmare."
"Any Night Furies?"
"None so far."
The village became a hive of activity as the dragons tried to get every piece of food they could find. Two giant bowls were lit and raised up, to illuminate the dragons flying overhead. Peter reached the smithy and hastily tied on an apron as he entered.
"Ah, nice of you to join the party. I thought you'd been carried off."
Mathias was the village blacksmith, and had lost his left arm and right leg in the long running war against the dragons. He hammered away at a red hot sword, grinning at Peter. The scrawny youngster lifted up a heavy war hammer.
"Who, me? I've got a body of steel! They wouldn't know what to do with all of... this!"
Mathias wiped his brow as he hammered away at the sword.
"Well, they need toothpicks, don't they?"
Peter worked the bellows as various villagers came to the blacksmith with broken or damaged weapons, alternating between trying to repair the old ones and dishing out new ones. He'd been put in the blacksmith ever since he was small. Outside, the fighting escalated. A Monstrous Nightmare scaled one of the higher mounted catapults and snapped at the men operating it. Casually picking up his war hammer, the red-haired man belted the snarling dragon around the snout, driving it off. Then came the shrieking sound many of the villagers had come to associate with doom itself.
A bluish explosion blossomed against the supports holding the catapult up. Almost too quick to see, a black shadow shot past at supersonic speeds. Peter's eyes widened in awe. It had long been his dream to become the first viking ever to bring down a Night Fury. Just as he made to exit the smithy, he was effortlessly lifted up by Mathias.
"Oh come on, let me out, please, I need to make my mark."
The blond Dane was unfazed by the youngster's pleas.
"Oh you'd make plenty of marks, all in the wrong places!"
"Five minutes please, I'll kill a dragon, my life will get infinitely better! I might even get a date!"
"You can't lift an axe, you can't swing a hammer, you can't even throw one of these!"
He lifted up a bola, which was promptly snatched out of his hand by a viking behind him and hurled at an escaping Gronkle. The dragon gave a yelp as its' wings were pinned to its body and it fell. Peter backed into an emptier part of the smithy.
"No, but this will throw it for me!"
He patted a weapon he'd been working on for some time. Unexpectedly, it sprang open and flung a hammer right at an unsuspecting viking's head. Mathias looked at the man and then stormed towards his apprentice.
"Now, you see, this right here is what I'm talking about!"
Peter stammered as he collapsed the weapon again.
"It just needs a mild calibration and..."
Mathias cut off the babbling teen.
"Peter, Peter. If you're ever going to get out there and fight dragons, you need to stop all of... this."
He gestured to the boy with both his artificial hand and his natural one. Peter looked down in bemusement.
"But you just gestured to all of me!"
Mathias poked him in the chest.
"Yes. Stop being all of you."
Peter drew himself up to the unimpressed blacksmith.
"You, sir, are playing a dangerous game. Keeping this much... raw, vikingness contained... There will be consequences!"
"I'll take my chances. Sword, sharpened, now."
He dropped a bluntened sword into the teens' arms. Peter glumly worked the whetstone as outside, the five other teens his age ran around putting out fires. He murmured to himself that he'd make a difference when the Night Fury zipped past again and finished off the catapult it had attacked earlier. Detaching his hammer, Mathias attached an axe in its' place.
"Man the fort, Peter. They need me out there."
He walked to the door and then pointed at the silent teen.
"Stay. Put. There. You know what I mean."
He gave a war cry and charged out into the bedlam. Seizing his chance, Peter wheeled his invention out onto a low cliff overlooking the sea despite various warnings to get under cover. Opening the ballista up, he pulled back the strings, this time making sure it was loaded with a heavy bola. It was almost peaceful on the edge of the village. A lone catapult stood unattended nearby. Peter looked around at the starry sky, muttering to himself.
"Come on. Give me something to shoot at, give me something to shoot at."
As if in response to his muttered plea, a bluish bolt exploded against the catapult nearby, illuminating the dark sky with fire. Peter caught a brief glimpse of the silhouette of a dragon unlike any he'd ever seen before twisting his ballista ahead of where the dragon would be and firing. The recoil knocked the youngster off his feet, but his aim had been true. With an anguished screech, the dragon fell from the sky, bound in the heavy bola. Peter's eyes widened.
"Oh did I hit it? YES I hit it! Did anybody see that?!"
Unseen by the boy, a Monstrous Nightmare crushed his ballista, eyes narrowed in menace. Peter turned back as he heard the crunch of wood.
"Except for you."
Rearing back, the dragon lunged for the nimble, scrawny teen. Screaming, he ran for his life as the Nightmare's almost liquid fire gushed at him. Scurrying for cover behind one of the immense posts that held one of the two bonfires aloft, he winced as fire sprayed either side of him. Cautiously looking to his right, he didn't see the dragon approaching from the left until the red-haired man tackled it viciously. Snarling, the Nightmare made to roast the viking alive, only to realise it had expended most of its' fire trying to kill Peter. Giving a whine, the dragon nonetheless sized up its' opponent.
"You're all out."
Charging the vicious dragon, the red-haired man dealt it a series of heavy blows, forcing it to retreat. Taking to the air, the dragon fled. Turning to the burning pole, the man saw it snap and send the enormous bowl of burning wood rolling straight for a band of vikings trying desperately to prevent a group of Nadders making off with a dozen sheep. Forced to jump aside from the rolling bowl of fire, the Nadders seized the chance and flew up with the sheep. All around them, the dragons were retreating, carrying almost half of the villager's livestock with them. Peter squirmed under the man's gaze.
Every villager around looked at the blundering young viking.
"Ok, but I hit a Night Fury."
Peter winced as he was grabbed and hauled off.
"It's not like the last few times, dad, I really actually hit it. You guys were busy and I had a very clear shot, it went down just off Raven Point. Lets get a search party out there and..."
Peter's father Hamish cut across his son's babbling explanations.
"STOP! Just, stop. Every time you step outside, disaster follows. Can you not see I have bigger things to worry about? Winter is almost here, and I have an entire village to feed!"
Peter glanced around at the assembled vikings.
"Well, between you and me, the village could use a little less feeding, don't you think?"
Hamish did not look impressed.
"This isn't a joke, Peter! Why can't you follow the simplest orders?"
"I, I can't stop myself, Dad. I see a dragon and I just have to... kill it. It's who I am, Dad."
Hamish sighed wearily.
"You're... many things, Peter. But a dragon killer is NOT one of them. Get back to the house."
Hamish turned to address Mathias.
"Make sure he gets there. I have his mess to clean up."
Mathias nudged Peter forward. The five other teens wore looks of exasperation and, in some cases, mockery. Lovino spoke up first, followed by Gilbert.
"Quite the performance!"
"I've never seen anyone screw up that badly! That helped!"
Peter sighed as he walked past.
"Thank you, I was trying to..."
Mathias shoved Gilbert aside as he walked Peter home. By now, it was sunrise. Peter tried vainly to convince the blacksmith of what had happened.
"I really did hit one."
"Uh huh, sure."
"He never listens..."
"No, it runs in the family."
"And when he does, it's always with this... disappointed scowl, like someone skimped on the meat in his sandwich. 'Excuse me, barmaid. I'm afraid you brought me the wrong offspring! I ordered an extra large boy with beefy arms, extra guts and glory on the side! This here, this is a talking fish bone'!"
Mathias broke a laugh as they reached Peter's house.
"No, no, you're thinking about this all wrong. It's not so much what you look like. It's what's inside that he can't stand."
Peter gave Mathias an unimpressed look.
"Thank you for summing that up for me."
He turned to go inside when Mathias spoke again.
"Look, the point is, stop trying so hard to be something you're not."
Peter looked on the verge of tears as he pushed the door open.
"I just want to be one of you guys."
He walked in and closed the door behind him. Mathias sighed, shaking his head as he turned to go. Unseen, Peter slipped out of a back door to begin his search for the downed dragon.
Later on in the day, Hamish was trying to muster the village to conduct another search for the dragon's nest.
"Either we finish them or they'll finish us! It's the only way we'll be rid of them. If we find the nest and destroy it, the dragons will leave. They'll go find another home. One more search, before the ice sets in."
Berwald spoke up from the crowd.
"Th'se ships ne'er c'me back."
Hamish countered the dissenting viking.
"We're vikings; it's an occupational hazard! Now who's with me?"
There was a distinct silence among the vikings assembled in the Great Hall. Hamish pressed on regardless.
"Alright. Those who stay can look after Peter."
Immediately, there was a sea of raised hands. Mathias drained his tankard of ale and grinned.
"Right, I'll pack my undies."
Hamish shook his head as the other vikings filed out to ready their longboats.
"No, I need you to stay and train some new recruits."
Refilling his tankard, Mathias rolled his eyes.
"Oh, and while I'm busy, Peter can cover the stall. Molten steel, razor sharp weapons, lots of time to himself, what could possibly go wrong?"
Hamish sat next to his long time friend and sighed heavily.
"What am I gonna do with him, Mathias?"
Mathias looked serious as he spoke up.
"Put him in training with the others."
"So am I."
Hamish threw his hands up in the air in despair.
"He'd be killed before you let the first dragon out of its' cage!"
"You don't know that."
"I do, I do."
"No, you don't!"
Hamish got up and began pacing around.
"When I was a boy, my father told me to bash my head against a rock and I did it. I thought it was crazy, but I didn't question him. And do you know what happened? That rock split in two. It taught me what a viking can do, Mathias, he can crush mountains, level forests, tame seas! Even as a boy I knew what I was, what I had to become. Peter is not that boy."
Mathias pressed on valiantly.
"You can't stop him, Hamish, you can only prepare him. I know it seems hopeless, but the truth is you won't always be there to protect him. He's going to get out there again, he's probably out there now."
Hamish sighed as he thought deeply on the matter.
I couldn't find perfect matches for everyone, so here's who's who in this fic
Hiccup - Sealand/Peter
Astrid - Hungary/Elizabeta
Stoick the Vast - Scotland/Hamish
Gobber - Denmark/Mathias
Fishlegs - Lithuania/Toris
Snotlout - Prussia/Gilbert
Roughnut - Belarus/Natalia
Toughtnut - South Italy/Lovino
Random vikings - Sweden/Berwald, Finland/Tino, England/Arthur, Canada/Matthew
The dragons will remain as they were in the film, since only Toothless got any real character development