Disclaimer: Dream Works and Cressida Cowell own the How to Train Your Dragon franchise.
Final chapter. There's alot to go through here, so I've put names. Finally.
I think finally I got why Snotlout liked to focus on mirrors so much. Looking at mirrors is about more than looking at yourself, it's about really …. Admiring yourself, and that's not something I really ever did, like ever. I mean, what reason did I have to like myself before being as scrawny as I was? That's changed now, being on four legs for months will do that you, even more I guess if you had do that a second time around.
Toothless was having an even bigger look about that than I was, looking at his teeth constantly, examining his face if there had been any lasting changes. Maybe it had been the result of being born a dragon and having grown closer to his humanity only to lose it. I could only guess. "Hey! My caninies grew back!" he shouted to himself. "Hiccup, look at it. They grew back!" I guess I can't really call him 'Toothless' anymore can I?
We were back to being… well, just ordinary kids… just in a very unordinary situation. It was good… sort of, being human again. We were lucky, all of us. My brother especially. I just roll my eyes and grabbed him. "Really? So what're you going to name yourself?"
He pursed his lips and thought about it. "I don't know… but I know what you'll be called 'Clothesless'!"
I stuck out my tongue. Low blow there brother, but I knew how to turn it around. "Funny, I thought being part of this village required everyone seeing you naked..." Because unlike everyone else, Toothless was the only one who got to wear his clothes when he changed back.
My brother snorted and fire explicitly did not come out of his nostrils, not like last time. "Whatever you say, whatever you say…"
I shook my head. Yeah, he knew I got him and now he was trying to deny it.
It's funny. Yesterday was such an important day, and yet… today felt normal. I can't figure out how to explain it. Yesterday, we undid it broke the spells that basically had a chunk of the village trapped in forced bodies. The elixir my brother had his epiphany over purged everyone's problems.. Me, my friends, my family, the rest of the village; everyone who wanted was purged of any enchantments and curses and even some folks who thought they had family curses came in to see him.. It came at the cost of also purging the beneficial spells that had been with me since forever… and probably might have turned me into a Night Fury permanently, had I not seen the start of it all; I simply did what my ancestor endured to myself and to Toothless, a working I don't know how I was able to pull off if despite doing it. Thankfully, everyone else didn't need to endure that part of the cleansing process, I guess because their… lineage wasn't as complicated.
And despite all of that, today was just another day in Berk, as if everything was normal.
From downstairs, Mom and Dad were celebrating without us. I knew better than to intrude on them. Seriously. Not going down there. My grandfather's house felt roomier now that we could all could fit inside of it more easily, but it still wasn't a proper home. A real house, a more… permanent home was going to be our top priority.
I grabbed onto my pen and started scribbling on some paper. Oh how I missed writing. My motions were clumsy, my writing poor but I was going to enjoy fixing that. It was going to be a bit bigger than the last one, a bigger workshop for my brother and I to try stuff out, two bedrooms, and definitely more accommodating if we ever turned into dragons again; because I wasn't going to put it past the gods to make it happen, again… Also, an air access, because Fishlegs is really pushing that air mail thing. "Hm, if we're going to get started, I think we can have this ready by the end of the month…. Er Toothless…?"
My brother was staring off into space for a moment there. "I'm… just… wondering…"
What exactly? "Huh?"
"Do you miss it? Being Night Furies I mean."
I sighed, " Yeah, a little. It's a pain to walk around everywhere when flying's much faster… and a fourth of the village can't understand us at all
He held up a coin purse, full of silvers. "How much do you think black wool we're going to need?"
I squinted at the purse. "Now, where did you get that?
He whistled and shrugged. "Well, it's not like I did everything for free yesterday!"
I just rolled my eyes. Really? He seriously did that? Charged people to clear a curse. Then again, we were going to need money for both the new home… and the plans we wanted to put in motion. There was the problem that we can't really effectively… talk with dragons who were dragons. Getting out of being forced into being a dragon is well and good, but we need to deal with the fact we had dragons, and they weren't pets to be treated as such… and not everyone changed back… Homes had to be made "dragon-friendly" and accommodations had to be made. It was funny how it was… we were both human for a day and both of us were immediately thinking up of ways turn back… and not be stuck at it. We were already at the point of 'stealing' for it. "Uh, Toothless, we can't do that…Does this have to do with Stormfly trying to prepare to 'outsteal' Camicazi?"
"No…." he said, but his expression told otherwise. "Do you want to fly or not?"
I groaned. Not going to believe I was doing this. "... It's about more than just flying," I said.
"We should atleast make them flame resistant this time," he suggested.
"Once we figure out what we're doing." Because we were going to burn through lots of cloth, in many senses of the word, just because we were attempting something without a guide or previous demonstration… and because while we still had a bit of magical power, that potion took alot out of us. We just didn't have the same ease at it as before… but I think we could make up for it with enough time.
But maybe that was a good thing, all told… We needed to practice.
Toothless looked at me intently.
I spoke again."Remember what that dragon said?"
"What if… he was right. What if because we had two different peoples, who can't even see eye to eye or speak or understand each other sometimes, at least not without a translator… we would have problems?"
Toothless looked at me intently. "So?"
"What if… we allowed everyone to choose to be one people? Vikings dressing up to become dragons and dragons wearing enchanted jewelry to become Vikings?"
Toothless seemed skeptical, although his expression told me he was thinking about it. "... That's definitely extreme. That why we spent yesterday at Gobber's place?"
I nodded my head. "What if there was no difference?"
… I was myself again. My handsome wonderful self, back in my room for the first time in weeks. The world should have felt like everything in the world was going up, better, yet… I didn't feel that way. I didn't feel like anything had really improved, as if I was still a dragon and not in my own home… and I didn't understand why.
My Dad was distracted, busying himself telling Firewyrm a story, something grizzly that should have made my blood pump. I hope he wasn't looking at me.
Hookfang was the only one who paid attention to me… and I only just barely tolerated that. He gave me a silent look of concern and I was not willing to accept his company.
I just rolled my eyes. I wasn't some weakling, okay? My blood wasn't made up of crybabies and weeping lads, no matter what Hiccup or Toothless acted like. … I just… ate something awful.
"You haven't eaten at all," Hookfang said, the taller boy whispering in my ear.
"Nothing's bothering me," I replied, my gaze firm. Oatmeal should have been easy to eat. Maybe I should put more salt or honey something.
"I didn't say that…"
Pft. I knew he meant to.
"Boy," spoke my father, catching on. "Is something the problem, boy?"
I shook my head. No. There shouldn't be a problem. Nothing was wrong.
Firewyrm focused in on me, eyes intent. "Well, I hope you're not lying to our host. You should be enjoying yourself now that you're home once again…"
I felt my nails dig into table; I didn't want to be reminded of that….
"Sister…" spoke her brother. "Don't antagonize him."
The girl simply snorted. "I suppose I shouldn't be involved in his affairs…" Although I had a distinct feeling that she was definitely thinking less of me, just from her tone alone… Why? What's wrong?
It had to have been nothing! Nothing!
My father simply took a sip from his wooden cup. "If you have something to say, spit it out! Has being a dragon for a few months left you spineless?"
Except what should I say? I had nothing I had to say to him… Nothing bothering me.
Both of the Nightmares in disguise simply focused their eyes at me, cringing at my father's words.
My dad groaned, annoyed. "Yeah, yeah, I know, but I'll stand by what I said!"
Even Firewyrm seemed to be losing patience, where before she found it easier to agree. Things changed between my Dad and my friends ever since word got out who they were weeks ago, there was this odd feeling, this… tension that happened in the gathering. Dad tolerated them, and they would too… but only when I was around… and well, me...
And I guess that bothered me, enough to speak… "Dad, they're my friends…"
He rolled his eyes, very dismissive. "Some friends you have, they're dragons, not proper Vikings! I mean, it's one thing if they were your pets, but…"
Both of them seemed upset, but didn't say anything. There was a rule in place to stop that.
I sighed. I hope I didn't anger him, too much. I didn't want to go back to the caves or have another "sleepover" somewhere else… I can't stand that! Yet, I couldn't stand by , could I? I mean. I shouldn't be questioning my own father. And I couldn't ignore it, not even if I tried to… "Dad...is that why you didn't want me at home while I was a Nightmare?"
He took my oatmeal and moved it to his side of the table. "Think about what you've done here, boy." And then he left.
I sat there, feeling a mix of emotions. Great, I made my father upset. I shouldn't have asked. I knew what would have happened and like some idiots I knew wanted to answer questions that didn't need asking, I did it anyways. It was going to take weeks. Or maybe another victory at this year's sports festivals for me to….
I felt a pressure on my back. "I think we've overstayed our welcome…" spoke Hookfang.
I nodded. Yeah. We did. Maybe my father will forget this later today. Or maybe I could do all of the chores and work out and…
Firewyrm gave an approving nod, probably one of the first times she did that… to anything I did."I appreciate your efforts, for what it's worth."
I sighed. And put my head into the table…. At least I had a consolation prize.
I lifted my axe for the first time, feeling the weight, testing the balance, testing myself. It's been so long since I had a familiar weapon and now it was like remembering. This wasn't the same weapon that my uncle gave me, but it was from someone who was just as important to me.
I juggled the axe offhandedly, a dangerous stunt, but one I didn't fear. I needed to get more familiar with it, better, stronger. I wasn't a Nadder anymore and I couldn't rely on using my body to do my fighting for me. I had to practice with weapons and armor, just as any warrior should.
I threw the axe into the training dummy, bits of cloth and wood spilled forth. But as I went to retrieve it, the axe pulled itself out, an invisible force taking it from me.
I heard a snickingering noise, a dragon chuckling in the distance. "Camicazi," I drolled. "Give it back!"
A serpentine dragon appeared, snickering and smiling. "Maybe later," she laughed, her words still understandable to me, although not as easily as it used to be.
I rolled my eyes. Not in the mood. I wanted today to be perfect, absolutely perfect, no incidents, no distractions. "Shouldn't you be looking for either of the boys right about now…?" Well, as long as she didn't take one of them for too long. "You did get the message right? You can change back now. "
"Well, I can see that!" she laughed. She moved over to me. "But what if I don't want to?"
I rolled my eyes. I understood her still… but I didn't understand her. It's strange how it all turned out between the two of us. We both looked like we could have been sisters as humans, but she was completely different and fittingly became a Changewing. "I don't think your mom is going to like that."
She smiled and chirped. "Mum doesn't like a lot of things that I do… Like you for instance! I mean really!"
I blinked. "What?" I didn't get the impression that the Bog Burglar chiefess had something against me.
"Well, cause you're a Hooligan and all! It's that Tribal stuff like always!" She grinned, moving over to my target dummy and sized it up. "She doesn't like the company I keep, especially since I don't go stealing anything really valuable…"
Okay, that made sense. I understood that stealing was the "thing" that Bog Burglars often did. None of Camicazi's thefts that I can recall involved anything too critical… or harmful to my clansmen. "Well, your mother sounds like a piece of work doesn't she?"
She smiled. "That she does…" She sighed. "You seen Stormfly around here, there's something I need to talk to here about?"
I cocked a grin. Okay this one I knew. "I already know. You had a thing for Toothless?"
"A little, bit more than Hiccup at any rate." the dragoness admitted.
I blinked a few times. Was she say that she had a crush on my boyfriend. Or was she saying something about him not being "good enough"? What was worse? "What!?"
She snickered, seemingly amused from my indecisiveness… and sounding like she planted the thought right in my head.. "Well, they're nice boys is all I'm saying!"
"Yeah, but…. Hiccup's mine!"
She laughed. "That he is! Although I don't know if that can change anything..."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
Camicazi darts off, grinning. "Oh, nothing… maybe I can steal something while I'm here… Or maybe sometime a few years from now. Who knows!"
I fumed. "Really Camicazi. You're going to kidnap my boyfriend?"
She rolled her eyes. "It's not really kidnapping… if he decided to come along for the ride!"
I took my axe and nodded gingerly at the the Changewing. "We'll see about that… We'll see."
I don't know whether Camicazi or not was being serious or poking fun at me or anything. Maybe it was all at once, I couldn't be sure there was a "single" motive, not when multiples covered more. Nevertheless, she did what any cornered Bog Burglar did. She ran, laughing all the way...
I sighed. Really hard. It's times like these that I wish I still had the ability to speak to dragons, but then I couldn't read the ledger to shout out the names of my charges myself."Grassroots! Bluebell!" I yelled, running around. The two dragons were running off and around in the school because as everyone knows, children don't listen to anyone. See, I had this funny idea to run what I call a "daycare", but my help isn't doing good. The twins, enjoying being for once being bigger than the young whelps were running all over the place and were practically more children I needed to watch after. About the only saving grace was that the entire building was locked.
I was busy trying to pick up the class schedule after some runts stole it from me. "Come back with that. Don't eat it!" I wish they understood me.
I ran after them, barely managing to get the pages and parchments as they were chewed to bits by their underdeveloped teeth. That biting phase, as cute as it is is not at all what I had in mind. Tuff and Ruff were helping me, too, probably because when things were bad enough as it is, the twins couldn't have made things worse. They grabbed the children, managing to corral them a few times before the other younglings stole the papers.
I don't know how long we were at it, but eventually, the little things tired out. They didn't have the metabolism to do all that running and sprinting for long. I should have canceled these classes to cope with the recent changes, but no, I wanted to see if I could use nonverbal communication.
"Ugh, wake me up when it's time for them to go nap…" muttered Tuffnut, for once, I could agree.
I grabbed a shield from a young dragon's mouth and the young Nightmare rubbed against my legs as if to get an apology.
I patted the little guy in the sweet spot, right under the chin, sending him to a state of bliss. That was something I couldn't do before, so plus for having fingers again. I flipped open my half-chewed parchments and noted which of the dragons that was. "Huh, he's the one from that couple, the ones that stayed Nightmares." I wondered how they were doing. We had a few villagers stick as dragons, and this child's family was part of them. Probably still Nightmares if their kid was one. He was… far more active and energetic than a child his age should have been. I mean, he was only a few months old; he shouldn't have been running around like that, but then again he was essentially hatched a dragon. Maybe he aged like one too. On the other hand, he was quite a bit less developed than some of the other his age. I guess he was… roughly two in Nightmare years, despite being six months old. Maybe something worth keeping in mind for the future.
The young dragon now quietly went to sleep, napping his way on my foot with a yawn. Now, two dozen more to go.
"So… we're supposed to teach them reading?" said Ruffnut.
"Yeah, I mean, how are we supposed to do that?" Tuffnut.
They had a point, of course. We couldn't even talk to them, and while we could understand them, that wasn't helping since it was all excited cries that we probably didn't need to share a language to get. Meatlug was elsewhere, already busy taking care of the other kids, the human boys and girls; she could have helped translate, but her… literary skills were skill lacking. Maybe if Gustav had been around, but he was at home due to fever.
The door to the Kill Ring opened and the young dragons all jolted up awake and went clamoring for the door. "Woah, hey there!" shouted Hiccup, gently pushing them away.
I moved into action and helped block the way, meanwhile the twins came behind and closed the door. "Hiccup… you're late." He was supposed to have been here hours ago.
The skinnier boy looked somewhat embarrassed, his expression knowing that. He seemed to have… small tunics, way smaller than his Tuffnut note this. "... I know we used to call you shrimp before, well, you know… but uh, you're way… bigger than that!"
The small dragons jumped around us, excited to see the clothes, maybe interested in chewing on them, like everything else. I know they did that last time they went through my laundry. Then it suddenly dawned on me. "Uh, they're not for… them are they?"
Hiccup grinned. "Maybe." He took out some silver pendants and the children were excited and wild. "Think you can help me put these on? Toothless and I managed to whip up some of these yesterday."
I sighed. Well, things were deteriorating with my host. I suppose it was only a matter of time, but I did hope that he might have been able to accept those of higher station above other things. Still, it was nice to acknowledge myself again, to be out of those tight garments and rags. I don't understand why the Herd were so insistent on them, but I abided.
"Sister," said my brother. "Class will begin soon. Will you get off your rock?"
I lifted my head from the stone. No, I was quite comfortable absorbing the sun's rays. And I was loathe to teach commoners, yet… I had my duties as a… somewhat Knight. Not sure what I was even supposed to be now. "Surely you can do it yourself?"
"Sister, Barf and Belch are going to be here any minute with our charges and our ship. You remember we have to help with fishing today."
Ah yes. "Fishing", that task. Diving into the water to herd fish into nets was hardly the most glamorous job available to us, but it was one of the few "trades" that most of my Kin could employ themselves in. Still, it was a common job. "Tell me when Snotlout is back," after all, that male was my brother's liege and he followed him everywhere.
And then Hookfang did something that really bothered me. He smiled. "Oh, him? He's going to be dealing with some guests that arrived… I've got you all to myself today!"
And that was when I was hurled off my rock and sent hurtling off the cliff. "Brother!" Oh I was so going to get back at him for this. I twisted my body into proper formation and caught the winds, harnessing that power and gliding back to the top. "You'll pay for that!"
"And you call me the lazy bones! Winners don't lounge around you know!"
"What!?" Did he seem to imply that I was a… fraud, a "loser"? Oh we'll see who wins in the next few minutes...
"And you boys should know better than to intrude on us un announced!" I yelled, taking a firm stance. I reminded me of the days I was an instructor, a teacher of war and combat. Maybe one day, I'll be trusted to do the same again...
"Yes, Ma'am!" both Zippleback heads bemoaned in agreement.
My husband, my mate Stoick looked up the two heads and inspected them. "So which of you two had the brilliant idea to walk in?"
"Well, he wanted to go right in!" said one of the heads.
"No, you did!" the other replied. I think the left one was Barf and the right was Belch… Or was it the other way around? Did they stay the same sides every time they changed? I didn't know them as well as some others my sons were friends with.
I shook my head. "Well, whoever had the idea, the other is at fault for failing to restrain the other."
Both of the boys winced and looked like they wanted to run. I smiled and suppressed a chuckle. I didn't mind them being afraid of me, no, it was for their benefit, to learn. Fear was a teacher. I would be that teacher. It was a reminder of who I was. I sighed. "Well then what business do you have for me?"
"Merchant!" blurted out one here. "There's a merchant coming into port!"
Stoick burst out into a grin. "Hm, must be Trader Johan. Haven't seen him in a while! Wonder what he'll think about town!"
I smiled. "Oh, hey, doesn't he have something for Hiccup? We should get him."
"Stormfly, what's going on? Where's are the others?" said the Rumblehorn. Thuggory didn't come often, despite living so close to us, mostly, it was because of his father not really… admiring that we turned his son into one of us and got him wounded… to a Terror. Despite this, he did make biweekly visits to check out how things were going…Also, helped make sure Mogadon wasn't itching to start a fight. I think in the chaos of yesterday, no one told him what had transpired since his last visit and he's starting to notice a few differences. I wonder if I could surprise him.
"Morning!" cried some men working down the pier.
I smirked. "Everything is pefectly fine," I replied. I wonder if he'll have his gaurd down, enough for me to maybe… try something. Thuggory's father… was really eager to make up for his son's "deficiencies" by saddling him with as much finery he could bear and I don't think he'd mind, but it wouldn't count if I just asked him. Hm… I wonder if I should wear some fur cloaks or wear a circlet. Hm, none of it, I was really interested in or could even use, but I wanted to prove something to Bog Burglar… wherever she ran off to...
"I'm just a little… surprised. Hiccup's usually here by now," he said.
I replied. "Yeah, but he got himself wrapped up in his work. Toothless is running late though…" And I think he's going to be delayed on count of being unable to fly himself anymore…
"I'm here!" shouted a voice from above. Snotlout was running down on the ramp at a break neck pace. Not the best
He slipped on something and came tumbling down, rolling down the ramp and landing in a heap right in front of us.
I cringed. "Ouch…" That did not look pretty and Snotlout isn't exactly going to walk away from it lickity split.
Thuggory found it amusing. "Snotlout you're… well… you… What… what happened?"
"Hey! Stop laughing! Maybe someday, I'll be running this village..."
"And probably get yourself killed! Arrow through the heart!" said Thuggory. "Anyways what happened?"
"Oh, that!" Snotlout grinned. "Well, it's all thanks to yours truly!" He then went on a spiel.
While they were distracted, I decided to take advantage of the chaos and took off one of the small animal pelts on Thuggory's back. He had this entire set of rabbits furs just lying there and waiting to be taken. I was going to beat Camicazi to the punch… might have been easier if I had fingers.
"So then, when it all happened, presto! We were all back to normal!" Snotlout declared. I was lucky that they retained the ability to speak to dragons.
Thuggory seemed perplexed, attention focused on Snotlout. He wasn't aware of what had transpired. I cunningly took my fill, ridding him of
And then I heard another voice. "Uh, Stormfly, I've got the and Snotlout... what are you doing?" Toothless was here, holding a small cooking pot in his hands.
"Er… just saying how awesome I am!"
"Right…" he shook his head. "Thuggory, I've got the ingredients for fix you up right here… it's going to take a while, but…"
"Oh, I'm in no hurry…" spoke the Meathead Hier. "In fact, maybe we can… postpone this… My father and I had a little bit of a spat and I could use some extra leverage…"
"Okay… can do…" Toothless shrugged.
I quietly pushed away the furs to behind a small crate. Thuggory won't mind and maybe for once I'll have something to show Camicazi when she comes over. We had a little bit of a
I moved back. "Well, maybe you'd like to take a walk around town? We're down a bit less on dragons, but not by that much…"
And then Camicazi shows up. "Hey guys!" said the Changewing. "Finally caught up to ya!"
"Hey Camicazi," said Thuggory.
"Hello to you too," I replied. And then I noticed something on the Changewing's paws. That she did not really. "Where… did you get those?"
The changewing held up some furs, specifically, the ones I stole! "Oh, these things… I found them just lying around!"
"... Those are mine…" said Thuggory. I would have said something but ugh. "Uh, normally, I'd mind but… uh, did you steal those from me?"
"Nope!" Changewing looks at me, grinning with a knowing grin. "But I'd definitely say it was amateurish work! Probably couldn't steal anything!"
I furrowed my brow. I wasn't going to fighter her, not when I stood some chance to lose some valuable clothes… and especially since we were out in the open. Besides, we were mostly friends… maybe rivals at times.
Toothless bit his lip. "So… uh, girls… there's been something I've been meaning to ask you about…"
And that was when i had an idea. "Well, I know something I could steal…" I grabbed onto Toothless's arm and then ran off. The boy was a lot weaker and lighter than me as a well, a boy. And I might have been a bit on the light side myself, I was still a warrior's physique.
"Wait, what am I supposed to do?" said Snotlout.
"... You take care of our guest, why don't you?" I suggested as I ran off, leaving a confused, Changewing and Rumblehorn in my passing.
Camicazi was laughing at the top of her lungs. "You go girl!"
I gathered the children around me, their eyes widened in anticipation. Most of them weren't through even their first decade… then again, so was I. I brought sat on the stump and considered my words and let them spill forth. Oratory tradition was the standard of my profession, well, former, former profession, the first job I assumed I would be going into. I guess I wasn't much of a Squire or a Knight was I?
The children all stared at me, entranced by the short tale I brought up. Much like Kin children, they sat still, eyes focused on their own thoughts and imagination. "Sunchaser was in love with the sun, after all; and afraid of the night. He reasoned that people grew old with each passing day, growing weaker, more feeble, duller, and dumber. He thought to stay alive, staying in the sun's light forever, never allowing himself to live another day. He wandered the skies, stopping only for scant hours and traveling the sphere of the world in pursuit of the sum.!"
"But the world's not a sphere! It's flat"
"Yeah! One of my aunts is trying to find the edge of the world… keeps coming back from the other side!" said
"Nah, it's a cube!" said another…
The children all looked at their friend.
"What? It's one of those… square things, but… cubey…"
We all laughed.
I continued on with my story, teaching them the way the places the legendary dragon has been too, seeing all of the different dragons of the world. In a distant land far below the world's bottoms and beyond the place where day and night held equal sway, dragons were feathered snakes, in another, they were endowed with great wisdom and wore pearls. "And some say. Sunchaser still yet lives, the sun never setting upon him, living in a day that would never end!"
The children oohed and ahed, amazed. I was a little amazed myself, I never got tired of it. There were different versions of the tale, more dire. But I didn't want to scare the young ones. It wasn't in my nature to do so.
"Ooh, can I live forever? Can we travel the world, too…?" chirped a voice.
Another popped up. "We can we momma?"
I turned and saw a pack of Whispering Deaths, two adults and two children. A family, I guessed.
The children were a bit frightened by the appearance of the new dragons, big jaws and spinning teeth. I cautioned them to stay put, the children of Whispering Deaths were somewhat unstable when it came to chasing things.
"Maybe when you're older," said what appeared to be their mother, laughed. "Maybe you father can take you out for a journey. "Maybe…" The other adult had one of his eyes torn apart, shredded. I think I was supposed to know someone like him, but injuries like his werent' uncommon.
"And children, please don't destroy the environment. It's not yours!"
"Aw." cried one of the Whispering Deaths as he was taking his jaws off a tree.
"Uh, hello, can I help you?"
The adults seemed to shrug. The children excitedly wanted to play. The scarred Death looked at me and then nodded. "Uh, we're just passing through."
The female sighed. "Please be more honest with the Scaleless dear. She might know where we need to go."
"I know where I'm going…" spoke the male. "I've been here before…."
"Not in the past decade, dear!" said the female.
"Uh, is there someone you're looking for? Maybe the chief? Or the kids?"
The male Death looked at me and hesitated for only a short moment… "Maybe not them… uh. You know of a guy who has a bucket for a helmet?"
"Stormfly, where are we going!? Can you slow down?" I have a rough idea why Stormfly took me by the hands, but it was rough. I was starting to become aware of the stuff that surrounded me, about maybe something that should have been crazy. I mean, we weren't even the same species or the right type of dragon… and it was probably supposed to be me making the first me.
She stopped, dropping me to the ground.
I groaned and then pushed myself up, looking at her. "Ow…"
She blushed, looking. "Toothless… I… I like you…"
I blinked for a second, thinking about it. Years ago, that would have been a shock. In way, it still was. And how was I supposed to respond? There were onyl a few words I could think of… and I don't know if they fit in. "Uh, I like you too…"
She sighed. "Toothless, just… not that."
"I know, I know," I raised up my hands in apology. "I was just… clueless about it… don't understand it. I'm the one who's supposed to be human, well, sort of… and I still don't get the point of a relationship outside of the mating season. I don't understand why Hiccup and Fishlegs were so eager to get… well, you know!"
She rolled her eyes. She seemed to have a better grasp on this sort of thing that I didn't. Maybe it was a girl thing. "I don't understand it much either…" she looked down at her feet, checking out her boots and tapping them exploratory. "Maybe I've spent too much time as a human. I mean, if I could I'd get money to get clothes as a Nadder. That's not something most others work towards."
I shrugged. Nadder vanity was at play there, though I guess they didn't look towards adornments too well. "Well, you do look good into it."
She almost turned red. "Thank you…"
"But… why me? What did I do to attract you to me?"
She shrugged. "I don't understand it much either. You were my enemy once and I thought you to be a coward… but you dealt with your problems. I think also, Astrid's influence is to blame." She laughed. "In a way, I've aspired to be like her, she was strong, brave, and lives up to her name. I I guess I wanted the same thing…"
It was my turn to laugh at that. "So… because she and Hiccup were, you know, an item, you decided to get me."
She blushed. "I know it's ridiculous. I know how silly it is… but Camicazi's reasons are even crazier.
I laughed. "Yeah, she joked about it when we first met… I'm still not sure what made me attract her attention. Maybe because I was once a dragon? I must have been high on to "trophy husband scale"... atleast if there was such a scale. I wonder where that put my brother? Was that part of the reason Astrid was attracted to him?
"And Hiccup," she added.
I just rolled my eyes. "What's he got to do with anything?"
"I think it's because she likes smarter boys. People who aren't dull and slow witted," she said. Which made sense. Not too many Vikings did more with their heads than basic literacy… and I wasn't sure if I merited that high up.
"What so she thinks I'm smart?"
She grinned. "Does it matter?"
And then, something strange happened. she kissed me.
I raised a hand towards me cheek.
I didn't believe.
Where was I supposed to go with this? This didn't happen before. This was… not something I dealt with. I didn't even have advice. I should have asked for instruction. This was hopeless, this… was…
I saw something. Groups of people clamored onto the docks, a ship moving in from port. It might have been a merchant vessel… and probably my only hope.
I sighed. Seeing as the only way I knew how to express the proper reply involved that, I grabbed onto her hand this time and then I took her.
"Woah, Toothless. Where are we going!?" she yelped.
"Come on!" I shouted back.
Everything was peaceful today, almost as if Freya's hand made this day as wondrous as it could be. Or maybe it was Juno… or maybe Pluto wants me to earn my keep so his brother can take it from me. I didn't even get molested on my journey up this time! It could just be that fortune was smiling upon given what's happened to me… How was I supposed to know? Regardless, it's been a long time since I arrived in Berk.
I've been sailing down in the Mediterranean for much of the year, mostly because of those stupid customs officials impounding my ship. Note to self, offer "discounts" to people with high up contacts. Good for business, even if at loss.
Whatever, I was free to sail and I figured I'd check on seeing how things went up north, where the barbarians seemed positively civilized. Last time I was here, things seemed to be improving, curses broken, spells undone. Who knew what happened there now?
I did receive a missive for a special order, something from the Chief. Top priority, granted, it took all of the past few months to get it. Stupid impound cost me a fortune. I working on undoing the sail and bringing myself to port. Men in fishing boats were shouting at me and… dragons were. Wait, dragons? Wasn't most everyone supposed to be you know, back to normal?
That was when they swarmed me, their bodies landing on my deck and… looking at me. "Hey, no peeks on the merchandise!" I shouted and then ducked my head down. I did not want to be attacked by beasts yet again. The boat careened closer and closer to the docks and then stopped with an abrupt thump as wood hit against wood.
"Trader Johann is here!" "Merchant!" "Trade!" "Get me silk!" "I want wine!" "More gold!" "More iron!" said all the Vikings, they demanded immediately as my boat was boarded. They were certainly… ravenous today.
I winced as the dragons dug through my things, looking through the wares and then...sampling.
"Hey!" "Vikings first!" "Get back here!" said the Vikings. It was at this point, the Vikings decided that they didn't want the dragons to be the only ones in the store. They boarded my ship. I knew this day was too good to be true. I needed to protect the really valuable things and then and then.
I just stared at the mess, the cacophony of commerce moving at a speed I doubted I could keep up with. I sighed, feeling too old. I just let them all have their way for now, rolling my eyes. They came to me asking for prices in rapid succession, a dozen inquiries per second. I could just barely understand the cries of Vikings uttering battlecries… against their wallets and I honestly felt like the dragons were easier to deal with despite not sharing the same language. Madness, I tell you, the likes of which have never seen before…. I don't know what happened here, I just trade stuff.
I sat on an empty crate, reeling from it all. That was when I saw Toothless came into view, holding what looked like some sort of circlet silver or gold and maybe gem encrusted. "Sure, sure, go ahead take it," I groaned and raised a hand shooed him off, ducking my head.. I think I was nearing the end of my rope.
More shadows came over me. "Really, Johann? I know you don't normally give things for free."
I blinked and raised my head, putting off the best faux grin I could. "Oh, Stoick, you're here!" I shouted, enjoyed. "You know me, just relaxing! Berk is one of my favorite places!"
The Hooligan Chief nodded his head. He was flanked by a couple of people, three of them were family, a few of them possibly future family. Hiccup in particular seemed to have a dozen or so toddlers at his back and had to turn around every now and again to watch them and keep them from causing problems. Apparently a field trip. Stoick turned to his two boys and wife and nodded to them silently. "You have it?" he asked me.
I nodded my head. Yeah, I was going to need a drink after this. I went down into the hold and came back a moment later, offering a box.
The two boys grabbed hold of it and popped the lid open. Toothless squinted his eyes and picked it up, blinking skeptically. "It's a toy..."
His mother ruffled his head. "Yes, yes it is…."
Hiccup seemed to turn a bit embarrassed, his face turning red, picking up a small toy in the shape of a dragon. "Yeah. Mine." he laughed an unsteady laugh, turning to his brother. "You weren't there for it, but I had a bit of a tantrum and threw this thing into the sea…"
Stormfly and Astrid, the two girls behind them all looked at the boy, almost skeptical about that. "...Wait, you throwing a tantrum?"
Hiccup shrugged. "I was young… and I was bothered by…"
"Me," said the woman. "I wasn't there… but I am now."
Toothless seemed to look down at his feet, seemingly left out before his father put a hand onto his shoulder.
I shone a big grin, satisfied. Yeah, this is why I spent all that time going through islands and looking through rumors. I told them the long chain of intelligence and rumors that it took to get to that single doll, feeling pride in my work. The sum of course had nothing to do with my enjoyment. Nope, not at all.
I turned and walked away from them, deciding to let the family and friends to make themselves comfortable. I had a store to run after all. But before I went away, I thought heard something escape Hiccup's lips, the closure of a sentence. "... And now, in a way, I am a dragon. I hope I don't forget that…"
"...And also a Viking," his brother reminded him.
Longest story I ever wrote. And it's finally over.