DISCLAIMER: I do NOT own How To Train Your Dragon. What? A full-fledged HTTYD chapter story from me? Who knew, right? This is about, eh, fifteen to twenty years earlier from the present time in Berk, and for the sake of everyone reading this, I'll make their Scottish talk sound as normal as possible. And I won't keep this accurate to the books because I haven't read them! But, Christmas...
Bright and early, the morning was, just the way Stoick liked to start his day. He thought of himself as being a bright and early person. Bright and early, however, would not describe his son at all. Hiccup was prone to try to stay in bed as long as possible. Hopefully, that devil of a dragon, Toothless, would get him up soon. It was getting a wee bit too bright for the lad to stay in bed.
For Stoick, the bed is where he usually was jumping out of. After taking down a bowl of mush that morning, he went over and shouted in his boy's ear to wake him up. The usual response was an annoyed moan and a pillow pulled over the lad's head. Stoick playfully grabbed the pillow and threw it across the room. Hiccup hated that.
Helmet on his head and a cheery mood to accompany him, Stoick left the house, whistling of all things. The pierced noise would never have crossed the man's lips if this had been a few months earlier, but Berk was different now. Dragons roamed the streets like tame, docile dogs. Tame, docile and helpful dogs. You never needed to make a fire around here anymore. There was flame-makers around every corner.
Walking quickly down the rough roads and wooden streets, Stoick made his way down to the docks. Berk's docks were always filled with boats and buzzed with activity. Fisherman were constantly pulling in with their large boats, hauling in great netfuls of big flopping scaled fish. The demand for the creatures had increased with the arrival of the dragons.
This particular morning, however, the fishermen had gone out with their boats earlier than usual, leaving the dock's harbor bare, with the exception of a few small canoes and war boats. The gulls were the only habitats on this fine morn.
Stoick merely shrugged and when he saw no one around, he bent down and sat on the edge of the dock. Clasping his hands together, he looked out over the sea, and what a magnificent sea it was. The waves crashed against the beams holding up the dock, sending little random drops of ocean drink up into the air.
Stoick took in a deep breath through his nose, and let it out with a contented sigh. Och, that smell. That salty and bitter smell of the waters brought back so many memories of when he was younger. He was Hiccup's age when he started hanging out by the docks. With its cool breezes and silent atmosphere (save the loud, hungry gulls), it brought him back to when he was a Viking teen in dragon training, next in line to be chieftain.
He closed his eyes and thought of those memories, memories of a time long ago.
"Stoick, Stoick, where are ya?" Spitelout cupped his hands together and shouted. Just like his brother to run away like that. Just because he was older didn't mean that he could just leave the house early and leave him drooling in his bed.
His voice became lost over the crowded docks of Berk. Surrounded by people walking about, who smelled like fish, which was down right nasty, I mean, who would want to smell like a fish? Spitelout was just glad his occupation wasn't going to be that of catching sea creatures.
The dark haired teen let one of his hands comb through his hair absently. He knew Stoick was bound to be down there. The boys' best friend was coming home from a little vacation on the seas with his parents, and Stoick had been awfully moody when he was gone. Now that Gobber was returning, Spitelout could only hope his brother's temper would improve. With him gone, their father had gone and and started to talk to him about being chief. Needless to say, Spitelout was glad that he was not going to be chieftain. Stoick often came out of his lectures with a face of pure annoyance.
Now slightly annoyed at him for going off and disappearing, Spitelout let out an annoyed breath and started to make his way through the crowd.
Rounding a corner, he felt a great weight leap onto his back, nearly pulling him backwards. Thick Viking arms clenched around his neck for balance, causing him to nearly choke as he managed to make out, "Stoick, ya great oaf, ya chokin' me!"
Stoick grinned and let go, falling easily onto the wooden boards. Spitelout let his hands surround his neck protectively, letting precious gulps of air come into his throat.
"What was that for, Stoick?" Spitelout wondered, annoyed. The teen behind him smiled and walked into his brother's sight. Stoick was a tall, thick teen, with beefy arms, extra guts and glory on the side. He had a small beard growing already. The small mat of red hair covered his entire chin.
"Och, I can barely help it, Spite, Gobber is coming home today, and with him home, no more time for talks with Dad! It is going to be awesome, Spitelout!" Stoick said excitedly, letting his hand smack against his brother's back in good humor.
"Och, he was only gone for two weeks!" Spitelout pointed out.
"Oy, but two weeks is enough for your dad to shove several generations of tradition down ya throat!" Stoick replied as the two started to walk down the rest of the wooden stairs. "And I'll let ya know, brother, that it didn't go down easy. Has a nasty taste to it."
"Oh, believe me, Stoick, I'm glad I'm not. Ya handle it better," Spitelout patted his brother on the back before he quickened his step, "this is why ya were born first!"
"Why? So I could be older, wiser and taller than ya?" Stoick wondered as he by-stepped some children who were chasing each other.
"No, it's because ya'll handle the job better," Spitelout quickly reminded him.
"Nope, I think it's so I can be taller than ya!"
"Then how do you explain our height difference?" Stoick wondered. The two brothers came to a halt to face each other. They were still growing, being teens and all, but Stoick had already reached a height that surpassed several grown men, a height he was awfully proud of. While he was six foot nine, Spitelout was only six foot five.
Stoick grinned heartily as he patted his littler brother on the head. "See?"
Spitelout angrily flicked the beefy hand away. "Just because ya are older doesn't mean that ya'll be taller!"
Stoick's grin only grew broader as he turned and continued down the long and fragile wooden walkway. "I could say otherwise, pipsqueak!"
"I am no pipsqueak, ya great big animal!" Spitelout counteracted. The two teens were able to make their way down to the harbor. Albeit, they had to watch their step in order not to step on some left behind child or rotten fish.
"Well, little brother," Stoick sighed as he leaned against a tall barrel, "ya'll always be a pipsqueak compared to me."
Spitelout looked at him with folded arms and a look of annoyance. "I hate your tall bloody guts."
"And I hate your short bloody guts, brother," Stoick replied nonchalantly. The two teens stood on the harbor, watching the horizon for a few minutes before Spitelout broke the silence with, "How did we get on the subject of bloody guts, Stoick?"
The chieftain-to-be had been staring at the clouds in the sky. His gaze slowly turned to Spitelout and he said, "I don't know. Maybe it's best that we just not talk and wait for Gobber."
"Agreed," Spitelout nodded.
The two brothers fell silent as the atmosphere of the docks drew them in. Stoick took in a deep breath of the cool, crisp sea water. Oy, if he wasn't meant to be chieftain when he was of age (or when Liam Haddock, the current chief and the boys' father, died), he'd go out and be a warrior of some kind, one that would go down in history (if anyone in Berk bothered to write down anything that happened in Berk). He'd go on and battle tribes single-handedly, and it would be he who would find the dragons' nest.
Oh, the dragons' nest. The place where all those dragons that attacked Berk came from. It had been Liam Haddock who had figured out that they had a nest somewhere, for they all worked together to destroy their village and take their livestock. They had to all live at the same place.
Someone would have to find the dragons' nest and destroy it, and Stoick was planning to be the chief to lead the attack.
He hated dragons. He loathed, scowled at, had a burning passion against and despised dragons. All of them; the Monstrous Nightmares with their nasty habit of setting themselves on fire, the Terrible Terror, whose name fit them perfectly, the little suckers, Deadly Nadders with their poisonous spikes and Hideous Zipplebacks with their two, stupid heads and the stupid and fat Gronckles. Oh, and whose were just the ones who attacked the village. Stoick grew up hearing horrific and gory tales of many other breeds up north, like the Timberjack and the Scalddron.
Every single story that he heard was burned deep into his memory. He had been told that when he himself was just a wee babe, he had gone and popped the head of a dragon off. He never remembered doing such a thing, but his mom and dad stood by it. Some of the other jealous villagers, including Spite, Gobber, and all of his other friends, eh, not so much. Did he believe it? Yes he did.
Hopefully Gobber would bring back some cool stories for him to hear. Vikings were always busy kicking dragons' butts and rebuilding houses and farming, but everyone knew that work and no fun was a bad recipe for disaster. Stories were always a welcome source of entertainment.
Speaking of the sarcastic devil, Stoick noticed the front of a small family sized boat coming in from the north. Upon closer inspection, he could see the front consisting of a small, detail-filled dragon's head. He could see small hints of the blue shields that Gobber's father used to decorate his boat, and the orange sail that floated in the breeze.
Yep, it was Gobber's boat.
"Hey, wake up, Spitelout, that's Gobber's boat!" Stoick yelled excitedly. Spitelout had been sitting on the top of a stray barrel, his eyes starting to close under the warm sun. Upon hearing his brother, the Viking instantly stood up and replied, "I was NOT sleepin'!"
Stoick scoffed. "Oh, and that was just an imaginary snore?" This remark earned him a little brother roaring a battle cry and clinging to his shoulders. Stoick fell backward, crushing Spitelout. Spitelout spat out a mat of red hair growing out into his mouth and rolled his brother over. The two started to brawl about the dock, clinging to each other as they rolled around. The fisherman taking in their nets of feisty fish only gave them a sideways glance; fighting broke out on the docks often, there was no need to watch another brawl.
Stoick was able to get a firm grip on his brother's shoulders and he pushed and shoved him to the end of the dock. With one final push, the red-haired teen pushed Spitelout into the green waters. Spitelout sunk down for a moment before he realized what was happening. Keeping an eye on his air level, he pushed himself to the surface. His face broke through the ocean's surface with a splash. He wiped the water out of his face and eyes to see a roaring Stoick.
"What are you laughing at?" Spitelout asked spitefully.
Stoick placed a fat hand over his belly in an effort to control his laughter. He stopping laughing long enough to say, "Ya look so funny!"
"Oh, I do, do I?" Spitelout asked, spewing a squirt of water out of his mouth. With one hand on the dock, he quickly used his other hand to grab his brother's leg. Stoick had been sitting down during his laughing fit, and he let out a, "Spitelout! Let go!" as his brother pulled him toward the water.
"And why should I?" Spitelout asked with a grin. Stoick growled, annoyed at him, and remembering that he had hands, he grabbed the posts on the dock. Spitelout grunted and pulled harder. "Let go, Stoick!"
"I can't let ya do that," Stoick responded. Spitelout tugged all the harder, making Stoick's grip grow tighter.
Spitelout groaned and thought for a way to make his brother let go. A thought came to him and he yelled loudly, "Look, Stoick, Viking women!"
"What? Where?" Stoick wondered. Spitelout grinned and pulled his brother into the depths. Stoick sputtered and rose to the top of the oceans, drops of water falling from his face and helmet.
"What was that for, ya great oaf?" Stoick cried.
Spitelout grinned and splashed a small wave of water at Stoick. "I call it returning the favor."
"Ya sore loser," Stoick accused.
"That I may be, but look how we're both wet, I think I was pretty smart," Spitelout replied.
"Well, lads, ya're about as smart as a pair of unsharpened knives!" a teasing voice called to them. Stoick and Spitelout exchanged a look before they both looked up to see Gobber, returned to his home, sweet home.
"Gobber!" Stoick yelled happily. Spitelout groaned and sputtered when Stoick accidentally kicked water in his face as he scrambled onto the dock. Once on, he stood before his friend, dripping like he had been out in a rainstorm.
"Aye?" Gobber asked with a smile.
"I've missed ya!" Stoick said, eagerly giving the teen a bear hug. Gobber gulped and was able to make out, "I noticed."
"He missed ya like a pup without his master," Spitelout called as he eased out of water.
"That's good to know," Gobber said in a squeezed tone of voice. "Stoick, can ya let me breathe?"
"Oh, yeah," Stoick remembered, and he let his grip on his friend slacken. Spitelout came to join the two as Gobber wheezed and said, "Thanks."
"Oh, goodness, Gobber, you have to tell us all the stuff ya did while ya were gone!" Stoick said excitedly.
"A'ight, but let's go to Mead Hall before Ma makes me start carrying things to the house," Gobber suggested. "We stopped by a trading village along the coast a few miles back, and Ma went berserk."
"Aye, let's go!" Spitelout agreed. The two wet and dripping brothers followed their friend up the wooden walkway.
"I noticed ya went and grew a little fur while I was gone, aye, Stoick?" Gobber said in a teasing voice as the three finished walking along the wood and onto the dirt paths.
Stoick smiled proudly and said, "Aye, I did. Ya like it?" The chief's son carefully scratched at his red beard. It was kinda of cool having facial hair, though it got to be terribly itchy sometimes.
"Aye, it fits ya. When I start growing hair, I'll get a mustache, and I'll beard the ends once they're long enough!" Gobber decided excitedly.
"Well, soon, this bit will grow out so much that I can make it into a dozen braids!" Stoick smiled. Beards made a man, and he was going to have the best one in Berk.
"Aye, sounds good. What about you, Lout?" Gobber wondered.
"I haven't given it much thought. It's the wee bit of a change, I suppose, that'll I'll have to get over. I'll get one, but I think I'll just let it grow. You guys can make cute little braids out of yours with yellow ribbons and bows," Spitelout grinned.
Stoick reached over and punched him in the arm. "They're not goin' to be girly braids. They're goin' to be warrior braids."
"Yeah, sure. Ya both will look nice and pretty when ya go fighting," Spitelout teased.
"Speakin' of fighting," Gobber said as he turned on his heel and faced the brothers, "guess what I met when I was out sailin'?"
"What was it, Gobber?" Stoick asked. Gobber smiled and put his hands on his hips as he said slowly, "I met the Boneknapper."
"Wait, what's a Boneknapper?" Spitelout wondered.
"Well, ya see, lads, the Boneknapper is a special kind of dragon. He goes all around the world looking for the perfect bones to make his shield of armor."
Stoick sighed and let a hand wipe his wet face. "Gobber, why on earth would a dragon want a suit of armor made out of bones?"
"Beats me," Gobber shrugged. "It was so exciting. We were sailing on through a crevice in the ice when I needed to heed the call of nature. Once done, I looked about, and I noticed something in the ice around me. It was a tribe of Vikings, frozen, in the ice! My eye caught one Viking holding a small chest in his hand." Gobber reached into his helmet and drew out the chest. Stoick and Spitelout leaned over to see it closer.
It was a brown-gold chest, with a golden colored lock. It was actually a very nice chest, Stoick had to admit.
"How did you get it if it was in the ice?" Spitelout asked.
"I'll tell ya," Gobber scowled. "I used my axe and chopped out the ice and reached in. I went and grabbed it and opened it. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen!"
"Even more pretty than Viking women?"
"Shut up, Stoick. Anyway, I went to grab the treasure, but the Viking that had been holding it grabbed my arm and started to make me punch myself in the face!" Stoick and Spitelout exchanged unamused looks. THEY both knew that Vikings cannot move while frozen in ice. EVERYONE knew that.
"It did not!" Spitelout scowled.
"It did too! See!" Gobber opened his mouth wide for examination. After the initial shock of Gobber's breath, the two peered inside. Straight teeth ran along his gum, but then stopped when a hole became present. Apparently, Gobber was saying that the punch knocked out his tooth.
With a grin, Gobber closed his mouth and said, "See? I told ya!"
Stoick sighed. Gobber could sometimes be called mental. "Gobber, you could have just punched yourself in the face by your own will!"
"Ahh," Gobber grinned, "but I didn't. The thing was that I couldn't figure out WHY the Viking was punching me in the face. He pointed behind me, and there it was. The Boneknapper dragon. He was so incredibly long, the size of a longboat! And his hellish skin was covered with bones, the cannibal!"
"Hey, who ever said that those were dragon bones?" Spitelout asked. Stoick sighed and knocked his brother upside the head. "Don't encourage him." Spitelout groaned and rubbed his head, glaring at Stoick.
"Anyway, as I was saying, the Boneknapper flew down and tried to grab the treasure from my hands, like I was going to give it to the devil. I bent down, and he crashed into the wall of ice, breaking it apart and the frozen Vikings broke out and caused an avalanche!"
"An avalanche?" Stoick asked flatly.
"Of frozen Vikings?" Spitelout finished.
"Yes, and then I slipped and fell. The chest flew from my hands and skated across the ice into the frigid water! I raced to it and grabbed it before it could sink to the bottom, but before I could take my hand out of the water, the old Viking grabbed the chest and started to punch me with my hand again! It hurt somethin' awful! He wouldn't let go, he wanted that chest as much as I did.
"Before I could make him let go, the Boneknapper caused the piece of ice I was sitting on to seesaw, launching me into the air! He grabbed the chest with his talons, and we squirmed around before I made him let go and I slid through a crack in the wall of the ice! I launched into the air again, and ya'll never guess where I landed!" Gobber said excitedly.
"China?" Stoick asked, frankly quite annoyed at the obsceneness of this story. Did Gobber really expect them to believe this?
"No, Stoick, in my parents' boat! I told them afterwards where I got the chest, but they just thought I was being crazy!"
Spitelout leaned over to Stoick's attentive ear and whispered, "Now, why would they think that?"
Stoick sighed at Spitelout's statement and shook his head. Hopefully, Gobber wouldn't be telling this to anyone else. "So, Gobber, if there really was a Boneknapper, why did it want the treasure so badly?"
"And what was the treasure anyway?" Spitelout asked. Gobber, ignoring Stoick's question, opened the chest with a slight grin on his face and held it out to show them. Inside the cushion covered chest, there was a little bone in the shape of a T.
"He wanted that?" Stoick asked, plainly vexed.
"Yes, ya know why? 'Cause I wanted it!" Gobber pointed out matter-of-factly."Even if ya don't want it, but someone else does, ya got to have it!"
"And right now, I want a mug of mead, meaning that ya want one too. Come on, Gobber, the rest of the gang should be at Mead Hall," Stoick said, clapping a hand on Gobber's back. The three teens made their way through the village, stopping occasionally for people to say hi to Gobber and ask him how his vacation was.
"It was...eventful," he'd grin. Every time he'd say that, Stoick and Spitelout would share a brotherly rolling of the eyes and would drag him off before he became involved in a long and tiresome conversation with some curious villager.
To Stoick and Spitelout's relief, it didn't take too long to get to Mead Hall. The overgrown hall was on top of a hill, not a steep hill, though. It had a lovely cliff in the front over which Viking teens would dare each other to lean over as much as they could without falling off. The view was quite nice though, though not nice enough to go and be part of the delightful scenery.
Stoick reached out and slowly pushed the big ornate doors back. Waving them in, he followed behind the other two teens as they walked into Mead Hall.
The Hall sported a large amount of wooden tables, long and communal in use. To the left of them was a bar where a bartender was serving various Vikings either cool mead or warm and spiced mead. The spiced mead was twice as expensive as the cool one; spices were of precious and rare value and was always in high demand.
Stoick leaned against one of the detail-oriented pillars holding up the roof of the place for a break. Taking in deep breaths from walking through the entire village, his eyes looked around for the group of teens that always had a table. The Teen Table, as they called it. A stupid and obvious name, subtle by no means, but Vikings were always a straightforward and not-so-subtle people.
He didn't have to look long, however, for he immediately heard the loud yelling of Hilda and Huffnut fighting. Those two never really got along. Stoick straightened up and followed the eager Spitelout and Gobber.
The three arrived at their table just in time to see Huffnut get crushed by Hilda's fat body. Along the table's benches, there was Buffnut Thorston, older brother of Huffnut, Stonebone Ingerman, a quiet boy who had a deep voice, Phlegma Begga, a very loud girl, and Valhallarama Freygunnr, a very Viking-like girl with a cheery personality. Taking a seat next to Stonebone, Stoick leaned over to him and asked, "What happened now?"
"Well, ya see, Stoick, Huffnut went and spilled her mead all over the table," Stonebone explained as he went and wiped his finger on the table. Once he had a bit of mead on his finger, he held it up for the chieftain-to-be to see. Stoick wrinkled his nose at the sticky drink and said, "And?"
"And it got all over Hilda," Buffnut explained. "Got all over her lap."
"And then Hilda climbed onto the table and pounced on Huffnut," Valhallarama, whom everyone, for the sake of being a people of few words as well as syllables, called Vall, took a sip of mead and then pushed three mugs full of the alcohol toward the three teens. "Welcome home, Gobber."
The three teens smiled and each took a swig of the brew. Gobber sighed as he wiped his mouth with his arm and said, "Thank ya, Vall."
Stoick smiled as he watched Vall as he slowly sipped his mead. Vall, unlike the fighting prone Hilda and Huffnut or the loud Phlegma, was a different sort of Viking. While she went berserk during a raid like all the other Vikings and teens did, all the other times she was sweet and nice, (well, as sweet and nice as you can be when you're a Viking), especially to the little kids. She was very good with kids.
As for her fighting skills, she was amazing. An axe was her type of weapon, Stoick couldn't help but notice, and though she was a bit on the chubby side, she was very quick and swift with an axe or in life in general. She was the peacekeeper in the group, a good person to have when you wanted a fight stopped. This time, however, even Stoick could tell that the girls were just being ridiculous and just needed to work it out themselves.
Hilda sat on Huffnut's stomach, pinning her arms down and preparing to spit in her face. Huffnut looked at her opponent with a look of disgust and howled, "Buff, you idiot, help me out here!"
Buffnut thought about that for a moment while he quietly sipped his mead. Setting down his cup, his hands rubbed together deviously as he called over to her, "Alright, but you have to watch Tuffnut tomorrow morning so I can go hunt down dragons."
Huffnut scowled at the proposition and the lob of spit hanging from Hilda's mouth, who was holding in a laugh, and yelled angrily, "Heck no, you moron!"
"I'm not the moron here. It was you who needed a lid on your mug, ya big baby!" Buffnut yelled.
"I. Am not. A. BABY!" Huffnut yelled, her hands stretching far enough to start to tickle Hilda's arms. Hilda started to gurgle and loosen her grip, causing Huffnut to gain the upperhand and push the heavier girl aside. Hilda rolled across the floor and landed against the table with a thud. The heavy girl laughed loudly as she choked on her own spit.
"That was hilarious!" she sputtered as Spitelout offered her a hand, which she thankfully grabbed. Her grip tight around his wrist, she pulled him to the ground as she stood up and quickly slid into his seat next to Gobber. Grabbing the teen's slightly sipped drink, she downed the remainder of the drink, the whole table watching her in awe as she drank the whole thing without stopping.
With one final gulp, she set the mug down and wiped her mouth with her arm. She looked and saw everyone at their table staring at her like she had killed a dragon.
"What are ya looking at?" she genuinely wondered. Stoick shook his head and took another sip of his drink. Hilda was not exactly the brightest one in their group.
Spitelout sighed and sat down on the other side of Stonebone. Huffnut shoved her brother over and said tauntingly, "Ya're still goin' to have to watch Tuffnut tomorrow."
"Ugh. Just because I'm his older brother doesn't mean I have to babysit the kid," Buffnut groaned as he stuck his finger in his empty mug and started to twirl it. "I hope he has kids that are as annoying and obnoxious as you!"
"Um, Mom says that to you, not to Tuffnut," Huffnut pointed out as she stole her brother's mug. The two started to elbow and poke each other, that of little amusement compared to wrestling matches.
Vall sighed and rolled her eyes good-naturedly as she turned to face Gobber and Stoick. Taking a sip from her mug, she asked, "So, how was yar trip, Gobber?"
"Ya know, fun, lots and lots of shopping with the mother, loved it all," Gobber said sarcastically as he took another sip of mead. Setting it down, a big smile grew on his face as he waved his hands about and said, "You know what I did find though? A new drag-"
Stoick took this as an opportunity to stomp on Gobber's foot. Like he needed everyone else to know about that ridiculous story of his. Gobber let out a high pitched squeal at the sharp stomp and bit his lip, glaring at Stoick with an angry and annoyed face. To that Stoick simply gave him a look.
"Well? You found a what?" Vall wondered. She watched the two, confused, as she pushed back her red hair that was growing into her face. She folded her arms and placed them on the table and rested her head on them.
The two best friends shared an annoyed glare before Gobber turned back to Vall and continued, "I found, uh, a new dragon claw, on the, uh, boat. Devil must have lost it during the last dragon raid." Stoick gave him a nod. That would work.
"Really?" Vall asked excitedly. "Where is it?"
Gobber's proud face fell into a frown as he sighed. He reached backward and started to scratch his neck nervously as he stuttered, "I, um, lost it. On the boat. There was a bunch of waves, and it was all bumpy, and it slipped out of my hand and fell into the water."
Vall sighed as she buried her face deeper into her thick arms. "Oh, that's too bad."
Stoick sighed as he wiped his face with his hand. Why couldn't Gobber be a bit more suave? He only hoped and thought of a silent prayer that his friend would be able to say something to break the awkward silence.
"I, umm..." Gobber fumbled. He had been playing around with his empty mug, and his jittery fingers let it fall to the floor. Stoick and Gobber both cringed as it fell with a thud, and danced around the floor before it slowly came to a stop, the noise it made echoing throughout the Hall.
Gobber groaned and Stoick slouched on the bench. The siblings, Stonebone, Phlegma, Hilda and Spitelout had stopped with their yapping a long time ago, and now the nine teens just sat around staring at each other, Stonebone and Hilda each occasionally taking a small sip from their mugs. The other Vikings adults who had been drinking and saying light chatter were gone, probably to do their work. Only the bartender was left, and he was silently wiping away at mugs with a rag.
Not wanting to deal with this awkwardness, Phlegma sighed and jumped off the bench, saying, "Anyone else want another round?" She was greeted by a slight crowd of murmurs of yes. Nodding her head curtly, she ran to the bar.
The only sound they could hear was the slight noise of Phlegma's voice, which quickly faded away as she finished explaining their order. Gobber shifted in his seat and once again tried to jump start the conversation. "So, uh, anything eventful happen while I was gone?"
Vall sighed and brought her hands to her sides. Taking a deep and depressing breath, she said, "Well, we had a dragon raid, lost twenty two men, killed a total of thirty six dragons, had to rebuild five new houses and we lost one hundred and seventeen sheep and cattle. So, aye, ya can call it eventful."
Her dreary speech only made the atmosphere of the room worst. Stoick took off his helmet and ran a hand through his rough hair.
Where was Phlegma with those drinks?
"Look, Stoick, thank ya for coming with me," Gobber smiled at his friend. Stoick took another step on the crude step and replied, "Well, I know the feeling of having angry parents. They're easier on ya when there's a non-family member listening. Trust me. Stonebone was at my house once when I had forgotten to meet Dad for fishing, and I got off with only a small reprimand." He chuckled as he added, "And I'd do anything to leave Mead Hall."
Gobber smiled, and the two best friends traversed up the hill on which Gobber's home was located. Fortunately for Gobber and his parents, the great fire-breathing beasts had spared their abode while they were gone.
Gobber stopped at his doorstep and turned to Stoick with a finger over his mouth to motion to him to be quiet. The chief's son nodded, and Gobber turned and slowly opened the door a crack. He and Stoick each popped their heads in the doorway to sneak a look.
The small one-room downstairs floor was tight but cozy. There was a fire blazing in the stone fireplace on the north side of the room with an armchair in front of it. On the right side of the room, there was a small kitchen space and a table with a few scattered rough stools surrounding it. A chest sat against the wall on the left side near the stairs. The wooden floors could be barely seen from the amount of skin rugs and carpets sprawled across the floor. Gobber's father liked his taxidermy.
There was no luggage or boxes or bags dumped on the floor, making Gobber inwardly groan. They had put everything away already.
The place was lit with few candles for the windows were letting in many a bit of light. Gobber and Stoick both winced when they noticed the sunshine fall on the small and fat figure of Gobber's mother. She was hunched over her little work space, kneading a bit of bread dough, the boys realized after sniffing the air. She was humming a random tune to herself and had her back to them. Gobber shushed Stoick once again (even though Stoick hadn't made a bit of noise besides breathing) before he slipped into the room.
Both boys quietly lifted their feet as they made their way through the room. They had been so quiet and stealthy that they both groaned a loud and annoyed groan when Gobber's mother, Bree, called over to them from her little spot, "Gobber, dear, your father is upstairs and he wants to see you. Why don't both you boys sit down and I'll call him down."
The best friends looked at each other with a sigh and they both took a seat at the rough table. Bree, with a bright and cheery smile on her face, slowly waddled over to them and set a tray of freshly baked cookies on the table. How she had managed to bake cookies in the hour they had been home, Stoick would never know.
"How could ya cook these so fast?" Gobber wondered as he picked up a cookie and held it up to the light. Upon seeing that it was cooked all the way, he shrugged and popped it into his mouth.
Bree smiled and said in a motherly tone of voice, "It's a woman thing, dear." Turning her back to them, she cupped her hands together and shouted, "Craig, yar son is here!" Her voice echoed through the small house, ringing in Gobber and Stoick's ears. She turned to them with a smile and went back to her baking.
They turned from the small woman over to the thundering man stomping down the stairs. Each step he took made Gobber cringe just a little bit more. He bet his father was taking small steps on purpose. The man usually went down two at a time, but oh no, he just now decided to go one step at a time. Make the waiting slow and torturous.
Craig finally made his way to the bottom of the stairs. Without a word, he crossed the room and sat down in a chair. Gobber sighed impatiently and tapped his fingers on the tabletop as his father slowly reached over and grabbed a cookie. He held it to his mouth and took a bite.
Gobber sighed loudly and said, "Well, aren't ya goin' to scold me?"
Craig put down his cookie and slowly turned to his son. Bree called over from her spot by the kitchen, "Craig, tell him the BIG news!"
Stoick took another bite of the cookie he was holding and Gobber gulped down the rest of the baked good he had in his mouth. "Wait, what big news?"
"Well, Gobber," Craig said slowly (Stoick was beginning to find a pattern in the man's lifestyle), "I went down to the blacksmith's shop today."
"Um, okay," Gobber said nervously as he traced the cracks in the wood.
"And I had a talk with Blubber, the blacksmith."
"Okay, and ya had a nice heart-to-heart chat, how nice for old friends to catch up," Gobber laughed nervously. "Now ya don't have to talk to each other for another decade."
Craig ignored his son. "And we made a deal."
"Okay, good. Deals are good. So, are ya getting some daggers sharpened for half price or something?" Gobber wondered. Stoick sighed and took another bite of cookie. This conversation was feeling very one-sided.
"No. He needed some help in the shop and I have a son. So, we decided to start you on a blacksmith's apprenticeship."
Stoick horked and nearly choked on his cookie. Gobber's face turned white. He had come in thinking that he was going to be given a small scolding for not helping in putting away the family's stuff from their vacation, and now he was an apprentice at a place filled with fire and sharp surfaces!
Craig actually cracked a smile and he called over his shoulder, "Bree, our son is speechless!"
"Goodness day, he must be so excited!" Bree squealed.
"Och, yes, he is very surprised." Craig reached over and whacked Gobber on the back which Stoick thought was supposed to be a friendly slap. Gobber only squeaked as Craig stood up and said, "I'm going to go cut up some more firewood." He stood up and walked over to the door. Easing it open, he called over his shoulder, "And, oh Gobber, your bags are in your room."
Stoick hacked and downed the cookie stuck in his throat. He coughed violently and thumped his chest with his fists. When he finally calmed down, he turned over to his best friend. Gobber's face had gone blank. His face had turned white, a color all too easy for the teen to turn, and his eyes stood frozen, except for his left, which slightly twitched.
"Gobber? Gobber?" Stoick asked worriedly. He reached out and waved a thick hand in front of the boy's face. Gobber in response only slowly but surely fell backward. His stool crashed down as he collided with the floor. Only then did his eyes slowly started to function as he slowly opened and closed his eyelids.
"What just happened?" Gobber wondered blankly as he sat up straight, his eyes darting about the room.
"Ya're goin' to be a blacksmith's apprentice," Stoick said.
Gobber smiled and answered nonchalantly, "Alright then."
Stoick smiled. Yep. Gobber was just fine.
Well, that's the first chapter! I added some OC teens for the fun of it. I imagine Stoick of having a nicer relationship with the teens his age then Hiccup had. 'Cause Stoick wasn't as clumsy or awkward as Hiccup. I hope y'all liked it, and please leave a review! :3