Hiccup stared out of the window of his room, not really seeing the sights of the village outside due to the growing knot of nervousness growing in his stomach. His father would be home soon, and that would mean he'd have to kill a dragon in order to become an adult Viking of the Hooligan tribe.
Hiccup hadn't been able to kill a dragon when he'd first shot own Toothless, and doing such an act would be impossible now. Not after learning so much, seeing so much, and learning how to fly with Toothless.
Hiccup had been debating for a long time, and with certain doom approaching; there was no time like the present. Hiccup stood, and began to move about his too-quiet house. Clothes, blankets, food, water. Some tools Hiccup would need to create necessities for long-term survival.
Hiccup couldn't help but feel an odd mixture of guilt and sadness pulling at his chest. He would need these things to survive, but he was stealing them. If he followed through, he would need to leave forever. It was a daunting thought.
Guiltily, Hiccup took half of the money-pot Stoick had been saving money in for as long as Hiccup could remember. Stoick had never said what the money was for, but Hiccup had always assumed it would be important.
Now he'd never know, but no matter where he went gold would be important in starting a new life.
Hiccup sorted his things into the sturdiest packs he could find. Five total, including his small satchel. The satchel held the gold, his journal, some charcoal, and his map. Everything else; the food, camping gear, and tools, was sorted for maximum stealth. He needed to sneak away from the village first. That would be the hard part.
Hiccup waited for nightfall, hiding in the small section on the cellar when both Gobber and Astrid came looking for him. Gobber to congratulate him on his recent victories no doubt. Astrid probably wanted to intimidate his newfound knowledge of dragons out of him. Gobber couldn't fit into the space, and Astrid didn't know the space even existed.
Huddled with his supplies behind several casks of ale, Hiccup waited for nightfall.
Creeping into the cove, Hiccup greeted Toothless happily. He tied his bags to Toothless's saddle, and rubbed Toothless's muzzle. Toothless tilted his head to one side, asking a silent question.
"We're going, bud, and we won't be coming back," Hiccup's voice broke when he realized what this would mean.
Hiccup would never be able to come back to Berk. He would never be able to see Gobber, or Gothi, or his father ever again, for as long as he lived. At sixteen it was a terrifying prospect, no matter how much he mistrusted his fellow villagers. There had been too much silence, too much dislike for him to truly trust them.
"Am I doing the right thing?" Hiccup asked hollowly, absent-mindedly stroking the warm scales of Toothless's muzzle.
A sharp gasp from the ground above, and Hiccup looked up in time to see Astrid begin to sprint away. Without hesitation knowing Astrid would likely bring the entire island to arms against him, Hiccup jumped onto Toothless, and took off. Hiccup's heart was beating fast with a sudden rush of fear, and he couldn't stop his hands shaking. In the air, Hiccup knew there was no point in trying to catch her: if she had a weapon, she could kill Toothless mid-flight. That prospect sent Hiccup's skin crawling.
Flying low to the ground, using the woods to offer more protection in the shadows, Hiccup knew where he wanted to go.
Guards would be sent to the cove, which would leave the docks unattended. Swooping low, and keeping a careful eye out, Hiccup unmoored a truly tiny one-man vessel, and tied a rope to one end. Toothless took the other end in his claws, and they flew away from the shouting chaos of what they were going to leave behind.
Brokenly, belatedly, Hiccup realized something.
"I didn't leave a note."
Hiccup knew how his father would think, how the entire island of Berk would think. They'd expect him to go as far away from Berk as possible, going to the most remote islands in the archipelago.
Hiccup refused to be as predictable as they thought. It took some flying, but he'd found it. An island that was far enough that no one could see it from Berk, but close enough that no one would think of it. They would give up the search before ever considering this island, surely.
A dormant volcano took up a significant portion of the island. The inside was hollowed out by ancient lava flows, which gave way to the will of the gods. A stream ran along the middle of the cavern, pooling into a deep lake in the far side. Clearly there was a drain, otherwise the entire area would be flooded.
In the opposite side of the cavern, Hiccup found a large alcove big enough to house him and Toothless while giving them more privacy than the rest of the volcano afforded. Climbing ivy hid the entrance into the smaller alcove.
A secondary alcove, more like a raised platform, was perfect for Hiccup to put his bedding into. Toothless, meanwhile, had flown off to find a perfect rock to act as his own bed.
Thankfully, Toothless didn't insist on adding another layer of stone to Hiccup's bed. The hard rock would be difficult enough to adapt to.
Stepping back into the main cavern, Hiccup looked up, and squinted at the bright sunlight that poured through opening at the top, which signified that the volcano had erupted long ago. It was perfect: ground and sky entrances. It would be perfect for Toothless and himself.
All they needed was to get settled, and that would just take time. Time was something they had plenty of now. Hiccup stood in the shaded entrance of the alcove, and watched Toothless.
Toothless was happily roaming their new home, sniffing the fertile ground and pawing at the pond. It was entertaining enough watching him interact with a new home that Hiccup forgot his problems for a few minutes.
Leaving Toothless to his own devices, Hiccup began to unpack his bags. He had clothes, food, cooking supplies, some basic crafting tools, clothes, and his journal. He could cook and clean, and create some of what he would need to survive.
Looking at his map, Hiccup spotted what he'd been looking for: a small village not too far from Berk. It was closer to his island than Berk was and it was neutral. There had been no need for Stoick to drag Hiccup to the small island, so no one would recognize him.
A gentle nudge against his elbow jolted Hiccup from his thoughts. Toothless seemed to be intently looking at the map, then quizzically looked at Hiccup.
"The island here is where we're gonna go next. With the gold I have, we should be able to get what other things I'll need. Maybe some more tools so I can create things to sell. From what Trader Johann always said: it's a good merchant hub."
Toothless made a noise in the back of his throat that sounded like he agreed. Hiccup nodded, "It's a good as plan as any. We'll need to bring the boat, and hope there's an outcropping big enough for you to wait for me on."
Toothless chirped, nudging Hiccup's arm again, his eyes narrowed in worry. Hiccup sighed, "I'll be okay, bud."
Toothless snorted, smoke curling out of his nostrils. Hiccup rolled his eyes, "I will be!"
Hiccup sighed, "C'mon. Let's get things set up here. Maybe in a few days we'll go see what this trading post has to offer."
Toothless nodded, and Hiccup sighed. Putting the map away, Hiccup sat down heavily in the dirt, leaning against Toothless. Guilt was weighing him down, pressing painfully into his heart. Hiccup took a shuddering breath, trying to hold back tears.
"Vikings don't cry son." That's what Stoick had always said.
Toothless flicked a rough tongue out to Hiccup's face, scraping the skin a little with it's rough texture. Hiccup sniffled, craning his head back to get a look at Toothless.
Toothless growled something that sounded comforting. Hiccup closed his eyes, taking deep breaths.
Toothless chirped, green eyes wide with concern. Hiccup stroked Toothless's muzzle, "Today's been rough."
Toothless snorted, and rolled his eyes. It was like he was the embodiment of 'no kidding'. Hiccup chuckled dryly, "Thanks."
Toothless made a soothing sound in the back of his throat, and Hiccup sighed. Toothless repeated the noise, nudging Hiccup. Hiccup turned to stare, and Toothless repeated the noise. Hesitantly, Hiccup tried repeating the noise.
Toothless chirped in agreement, and Hiccup tried again. It was better, closer to Toothless's. Toothless chirped again, and Hiccup did his best to repeat. Excitedly, Toothless gestured to Hiccup, and made a different sound.
Hiccup slaughtered it in the repeat, and it looked like Toothless laughed at him as a result. After several more repetitions, Hiccup seemed to get it enough for Toothless's satisfaction. Toothless gestured to Hiccup and repeated the noise again, then sat back. Apparently, he was waiting for something.
Hiccup stared at Toothless for several seconds, before an inkling of an idea struck him, "Is-is that my name?"
Toothless chirped in agreement, the same sound as before. Hiccup swallowed, "Is that 'yes'?"
Toothless chirped again. Hiccup's face drained of colour, and he covered his mouth with a hand, "You're like us and we've been slaughtering you for generations."
Toothless rubbed up against Hiccup comfortingly, like a cat. Hiccup leaned against Toothless as the dragon made himself comfortable. Soothingly, Toothless started to purr. The soft, rumbling noise did a lot to help Hiccup's wrecked nerves.
"I'm so sorry."
The purring intensified. Sometime later, Hiccup finally fell asleep while Toothless kept watch. The humans wouldn't hurt Hiccup anymore, if Toothless could help it.
So yeah. As of Sept. 27th 2017 I've rewritten what would be approximately the first chapter or two of Running Away, and reposted it as chapter one. I've also deleted the other chapters of the fic so no newcomers are confused. So yeah, the next chapter is underway. Thanks to my betareaders, and as always if there are any suggestions or comments or anything feel free to PM me or review.
UPDATE OCT 2017: My copies of chapters 36 and 37 are corrupt,and I don't have any way of recovering them. If anyone has copies of chapters 36 and 37 of the original story, please get in contact with me. I'm trying to assemble a google doc of the original so others can reread it. Thanks!