(You all set?)
No, but like you said, it's rude to make people wait.
(What happened when you went to see Jack?)
I asked him about his past.
(What'd he tell you?)
He scowled at me and told me he doesn't have any memories of his past. I think he thinks no one does.
(Did you tell him otherwise?)
No. I didn't really tell him anything. He asked me why I came to see him and I told him I didn't know. After that he seemed to calm down. I think he caught onto my mood.
(Well I wouldn't doubt it Hiccup. He did used to be your best friend, even if he can't remember now.)
Will I get the chance to tell people how he and I met?
(I don't know. If you want. I think that'll have to wait until Jack realizes it first though. This story would be a little confusing if we started skipping around wouldn't it?)
Oh yeah, you're right? Well, where did I leave off?
(I think we left off when you flew out of your house with Toothless. Want to take it from there?)
Not really. Still though, that's when I saw Astrid, I guess I can't skip that part.
(No, it's pretty important. We'll skip though the non-important things though, alright?)
Flying with Toothless felt just like old times, the wind, his warmth, my movements, it was all in sync, just as it had been so many times before. It was in my mind, in my chest that things had changed. I'm not sure how to describe my feelings to be honest. I could say I was scared, but that isn't very accurate. There was fear, yeah, but it was more of a mix of anguish and uncertainty. I was dead. I couldn't very well ignore it now that two people had fazed right though me and a disembodied voice had told me so. But I still wanted to try. One more time, one more person. A person who would believe in me.
With that thought in mind, I directed Toothless towards the clearing where we'd first met. I needed time, needed to straighten out my mind before I went after her. She could be the only one, my last hope that all of this was just some silly mix-up or something.
When we arrived though, someone was already there. The very person I didn't want to see so soon.
I had whispered it but that word, that one word made her head turn in my direction, her eyes shining with tears and a small defeated smile on her face.
I couldn't help it. I knew it was stupid, I knew exactly what would happen, but hope is a very hard thing to kill and it's exactly what I felt when she looked up. Hope.
She could see me. She heard me. I made Toothless go faster in her direction, the grin on my face tarring at my chapped lips but I didn't care, she heard me!
"Astrid!" Toothless landed and in an instant I was off his back.
"Hey." Her voice was small and her smile watery, but it made my heart surge in warmth. Yes. Yes. Yes. Finally someone who could- "What are you doing here boy?"
I stumbled in my dash towards her and almost fell to my face. Oh god not again…I couldn't take this again…
"A-Astrid?" I tried to call out but my voice was small, hardly even a whisper this time. She was coming, walking right to me and I couldn't take it. Not again.
I closed my eyes and stood still, my body stiff. No, I didn't want to see it, didn't want to see her pass right through my body.
I must have stood there for five minutes before getting up the courage to open my eyes again. When I did, she was behind me, patting Toothless's head and whispering to him.
When the stinging in my eyes came, I didn't stop it.
"It's real then. I-I'm dead. No one can see me. No one can hear me, I'm just…A spirit?"
"I miss him too you know." Astrid's voice rose from her whispers and I released a startled laugh. "Sometimes I can hear his voice. Calling my name. Laughing. Being sarcastic." She laughed a little too, and I caught Toothless's eyes as he allowed her touch on his head. He was just as confused as I had first been.
"I'm alright boy, I'll be okay. She can't see me though, so you need to be good, alright?" I spoke up for him, even though my voice broke multiple times. I was wondering to myself why he hadn't attacked her like he had Snotlout and my father, but I didn't waste too much energy. Instead I went to the rock I had sat before drawing a picture of Toothless in the dirt with a stick. When I sat down, I noticed the picture was still there, only partly finished. I didn't have the heart to continue it though.
"I wonder what'll happen to you now." Astrid said to the dragon, loud enough to drift towards me. "With your rider gone I mean. I didn't think you could fly by yourself, but you did pretty well if you could get here."
I couldn't help it, the tears wouldn't stop. Burying my head in my hands, I cried silently as I thought about all that had happened since I awoke.
"Toothless, can I ask you something? Why do you stick around? Hiccup was the only reason for you to be here anymore. All of the other Dragons have already gone to settle in other places, but you are still here. Could it be because of me? Would you maybe…"
I stopped my self-pity at her words, wondering where it was going and fearing where it would end. She couldn't mean-?
"Would you, maybe, like me to be your rider?"
My heart hit my throat as the blonde's words seemed to echo in my head. She wanted Toothless? She wanted to take Toothless away from me?
Her words had an effect on Toothless too though. Instantly his docile nature turned vicious, his teeth coming down and his glare burning fire. In an instant he snarled at Astrid and dashed towards me, standing by me and growling at her. Her confusion was so clear on her face, but so was her fear.
He roared and I panicked.
"No! Boy, stop it! Don't scare her!" but he wasn't listening to me. Even with my hand on his head, holding him back, he growled at the blonde as he tried to approach.
"Toothless, Hiccup is gone. You need a rider, someone to help you fly, you can't get very-" She didn't finish because when she finally got too close to the dragon, Toothless threw a fireball at her. The scream echoed in the clearing and I cringed in both worry for her and for my dragon.
She held her hand to her chest, but I caught a glimpse of it as she scurried backwards in fear and anger. Her hand was dark red, a dangerous burn, no telling if she would be able to keep that hand or not.
"Astrid!" I called in worry, using my whole body to keep Toothless back from her. She didn't hear me as she rushed backwards, glancing behind her periodically to see if she was being chased. "Astrid, WAIT! Don't!" But it was too late. Not only could she not hear me in the first place, but she was already gone.
"Argh!" I raged at the situation, my own voice rising in sounds completely unusual to not only me but most humans. How could I turn this around? How could Toothless do that!? How was I going to change things now? I couldn't speak to anyone couldn't be seen or or or-
I turned and glared at Toothless. He was the only one who could hear me.
I'm not proud of what happened next. I turned all of my anger, all of my frustration and sadness on my best friend. I yelled, raged, screamed, I even hit him a couple of times, but Toothless stood there, staring right at me intensely as if he was allowing me this, this outlet to everything inside of me.
It didn't take very long I admit, to run out of steam, his stare helped me realize what I was doing sooner than I could release everything and suddenly I felt so guilty for this. For using my Dragon like this.
"You know what, I just- I just…forget it. I'm dead. What the hell do I matter? You shouldn't have to put up with me. I'll just…goodbye Toothless…" I started walking away with Toothless finally broke out of the intense stare and started to look worried, concerned. He trotted after me and whined, making noises in his throat I sure meant something like 'Where are you going? Are you okay? Hey talk to me?' but I didn't feel like it. My mind was just so…clouded?
(What happened after that?)
I kept walking. I didn't stop for a while and Toothless just followed me. I kept on thinking about my life. All of the things I did, thinking to myself that in the end I accomplished nothing with it.
(But you beat the Queen Dragon.)
No, not really. Toothless was the one that flew and breathed fire, I was just on his back keeping him in the air.
(That's not true, you came up with the plan, you two are partners.)
Well yeah, I know that now. At the time though, death wasn't too friendly with my mental state.
(What happened after that?)
I…I guess I found my way back to the village. I honestly what's thinking, I didn't know that they…well…that they were looking for Toothless…
(Do you want to tell that half of the story?)
Honestly? No. That's the worst part in my mind, but it's also the most important I think.
(Where do you want to start then? Do you think you can get through the whole thing?)
No. Maybe we should start from the middle. After they captured Toothless…
(Alright. After this you can go take another break, alright? Just get through this part and you can go for a while Hiccup.)
Thanks. Well, when I got to the village, Toothless was still trotting his way after me, and that's when the shouting came. They'd been waiting for him, because of what he did to Astrid.
(But Astrid was trying to stop them Right?)
Not really. I remember trying to talk to her, tell her why Toothless did what he did. I was so close to her face, trying to get her to listen, otherwise I wouldn't have heard her when she whispered it…
"I'm sorry…I know you miss him. You'll be with him soon Toothless…"
The words turned me to stone. I couldn't believe it, they were going to…no. Please god no, don't let that be their plan.
I didn't notice they had left already, dragging my dragon along with them. I didn't notice I was suddenly alone until another voice, strong and familiar called to me.
"Little one! You must hurry! Your friend!"
When I heard the Lady in the Sun, my mind snapped back into my body and I moved fast, faster than I thought I could. I didn't notice at the time but I was being carried by the winds and they took me straight to the arena. The very place where I had been meant to kill my first dragon.
I didn't know what was happening. Didn't really realize what I was doing or the noise around me. All I saw was Toothless. His eyes wide with fear, just like that first time I met him.
He met my eyes for only a second, his soft cry for my ears alone, and I raced to him, going through countless Vikings that had come to watch, all of whom had sadness in their own eyes.
Toothless was tied up in the center of the field, his wings pinned to his body, in legs bound together. A muzzle over his face as his head thrashed side to side, trying to look everywhere at once.
I reached him in no time, thanking the wind that had blown me here almost automatically. "Don't worry bud, I'll get you out of this."
I reached out to undo the bonds that held my best friend, but I failed. My hands turned white and passed right through Toothless's body, right through the rope.
"No…" I was dumbfounded. No way. This wasn't happening, Toothless could see me, he could hear me, he had been following me, I had touched him before, I had ridden him. "No, buddy, come on, focus on me. We'll be okay. Toothless, Toothless please." I didn't notice or care about the tears, all I could do was struggle to touch the restraints, to touch my friend.
"It is fear, Little one. He is afraid. You must calm his fear for him to focus on believing in you."
"How am I supposed to do that?!" I yelled, clenching my eyes shut, my fists hitting the ground over and over in frustration, anger and my own fear. I felt no pain though, not physically at least.
"The winds! He is a creature of the sky! Use the winds!"
"What!?" I was confused and desperate for an answer.
"Call forth the wind child! Before it is too late."
But it was already too late. Stoic made his way into the arena, an ax in his hands and a look of determination on his face.
The second my eyes spotted my father, my fear intensified.
"Wind! Please! Please please please! Come on come on come on, please blow, come on wind please!" I shouted into the sky, knowing that something would hear me, even if all these Vikings won't.
It didn't work though as nothing moved except for the footsteps coming from behind me.
"Come on! Please! WIND!"
Finally, a gust of powerful wind blew through the arena, the gust catching on Toothless's wings, making the creature relax only minutely.
My Dragon's eyes turned to me in fear, his voice reaching out for me. I breathed in release and reached for him again, but yet again I was too late.
I didn't see the ax. I didn't see anything but dark red blood.
I heard him though, Toothless's one, final cry.
Shock stilled my body. Amazement and disbelief making my ears ring as I stared at my best friend, the sharp end ax buried in his chest while the handle was buried in mine.
My best friend didn't move, his eyes open in a look of profound terror.
And suddenly that terror also filled me.
The sound that left my chest wasn't human in my ears. To me, it sounded like a roar.
A Dragon's final roar.
(How long did you stay there? Looking at his body?)
I don't know? Over an hour I think. I only snapped out of it when others came to take Toothless away. I remember my father crying, repeating over and over again 'I'm sorry son. I'm so sorry.' But I honestly didn't hear it at the time. I was too busy trying to punch and kick the four men carrying Toothless.
(What happened after that?)
They set Toothless adrift on a boat. Then, just like they did to me, they set it aflame. Gave my bud a Viking's Farewell, just like mind…
(You left after that right?)
Yeah. I couldn't stand to be there. I couldn't look anyone in the face. I was so angry, so betrayed that I couldn't anymore. I used the winds and I ran away.
It's alright. After witnessing all of it, the Lady in the Sun saved him. Made him just like me. Gave him another chance at life, another adventure. He came after me two days later. I cried so much when I saw him again. I promised on my life that I'd protect him.
(What happened after that?)
The Lady in the Sun told us to come here. Said this school would teach us how to control our powers until we each found our places in the world. She gave me a hint though, to what my place would be.
Spirit of Change.