Twist in the Story:

Gobber left the forge for the day and locked it behind him, mourning the fact that he couldn't leave it open anymore. Hiccup would usually lock up for him after finishing whatever crazed project he'd come up with that week. He hobbled to the Great hall, which at times doubled as a meeting hall; it was the only structure in town big enough to house the entire village population at once. Gobber sat with a tankard of mead to drown his sorrows.

He picked at his plate of chicken. The cloud of misery surrounding the man ever since Hiccup's disownment almost 2 months ago, prevented others from nearing the weary smithy. According to Viking custom, grief was best dealt with alone, and with large quantities of alcohol.

As the man stared into his half-full tankard, he noticed some upside-down images reflecting off the surface of the liquid and looked up at the adjacent wall. His eyes widened as the image of rippling water sped by his face. He touched his cheek, to assure himself that his face was indeed dry, and blinked several times to insure he was seeing correctly; never in his life had Gobber seen moving images of this sort before and they gave him an uneasy feeling. Before he could turn to see if anyone else had noticed the apparition an achingly familiar voice greeted his ears.

"This is Berk." It was Hiccup's voice. The disgraced Viking boy that was cast out of his home for befriending a dragon; the highest treason imaginable to a Viking. Gobber dropped the idea of alerting the others and watched the image in front of him as the angle rose above the rolling sea waves to reveal his village.

The old veteran chuckled at his former apprentices sharp sarcasm in reference to the island and its inhabitants. His remark about "charming Viking demeanor" was particularly funny, given the circumstances surrounding it. the battle he remembered well enough. it was the last large conflict before this present calm; the longest they'd ever experienced. Some of the villagers were missing the chance to show off their skills, but Gobber was just happy that no one had been hurt recently. He'd seen enough injuries and heartache to last a lifetime.

Then his own face appeared, and he bitter-sweetly remembered the banter between him and his young charge. No one else had traded words with him like the lad had, and probably no one would again. A chuckle escaped him at Hiccup's accurate description of himself. "Meathead indeed."

When the other kids appeared, Gobber couldn't help but smile at the love struck tone his apprentice used to describe Astrid Hofferson. The girl was as fiercely aggressive as her father. Hiccup had no hope of catching her eye, even before the dragon incident. Oh well; who was he to tell the fishbone to stop dreaming?

The next conversation perturbed him slightly. Hiccups inventions were hopeless and always had been, but had he been too harsh with the lad? He was doing his best with what he had. When he began categorizing the different kinds of dragon kills, Gobber realized just how little he thought of himself.

Hiccup was noticed, and not only when his inventions caused havoc in the village. People loved his metalwork, even if they didn't know it was by his hand. Helmets hammered out by him fit better and didn't dent nearly as easily. Astrid's axe hadn't failed once since the boy started sharpening it. The Gronkle comment made Gobber pause. No girl did look twice at the lad, but he was sure that if they'd given him time to grow into himself, some of the young lasses would pause to take a second glance, right? And since when did the boy need status? He was the chief's son for Thor's sake! It's not like someone could steal his birthright! The boy was completely right about the Nightmare though. You didn't go after one of those unless you were highly trained or a fool. Hiccup, in Gobbers opinion, was smart to not try and take one on.

Something about the way he described the Night Fury bothered the double amputee. If he accepted it's status as the greatest prize, then why had he been riding the beast instead of hoisting it's head on a pike? These differences spiked the smithy's curiosity.

Of course he had to leave his accident-prone protégé alone, with a thirst to prove himself and an open door tempting him away from the safety of the forge, into the waiting claws of a Night Fury; the Unholy Offspring of Lightening and Death Itself. He sat stiff as a board, flinching as Hiccup ran out into the chaos of the night, barely dodging flying weapons and spurts of flame; dragging his blasted contraption after him.

Gobber noticed one small detail in the midst of the raid. Stoick is seen throwing a net over a cluster of Deadly Nadders just before Hiccup reaches the empty hillside. The boy makes the same grunting yell his father's been gracing Berk with for as long as Gobber can remember when he throws down the handles and opens his machine. Gobber is one of the few people in Berk who has come to know both Chief and ex-heir, and often recognizes similarities in their mannerisms, postures, and expressions.

The lack of music drew his attention back to the images. The blacksmith held his breath as Hiccup waited for the black beast. He blushed at his girly squeak when the shot was taken and Hiccup was knocked on his rear, but just as quickly felt the blood running from his face at the sharp smack of the bola-net and the animalistic screech that can only mean one thing. Hiccup HAD shot down the Night Fury. Gobber felt elated for his apprentice during his brief moment of celebration, suddenly understanding his chagrin at his predicament after the raid. He'd been telling the truth all along and no one listened. Not even Gobber, someone who clearly knew him best, given the many hours they shared in the forge. They'd all underestimated the smith-in-training.

These thoughts made him bite his lip as he re-witnessed his closest friend publicly humiliate his only son. Really? Could Stoick not wait until they were alone to tell the kid off? Granted Hiccup had been right all along, but no one had known that. They'd all assumed the boy was fabricating stories to save his own hide. And the lad probably felt bad enough already for destroying the bridge to the lower level of town. That's why he was trying to cover it up with smart remarks, the way he does whenever he gets burned at the pit. Didn't anyone else notice this? Why hadn't Gobber when it counted?

The big man had to bite down on his lip to hide his internal frustration when the other young'ins started ragging and ridiculing his apprentice. The fact that he hadn't known the truth about the Night Fury at the time didn't feel like an excuse to Gobber for allowing such nonsense. He wanted to wring Snotlout's neck. Well, the next time he heard someone bad-mouthing his student, Gobber would be sure to remember this. He wanted to start yelling at people, particularly Stoick and Snotlout, but the moving images kept his attention.

So first off I would like to make it clear that I am developing a new plot from existing stories, with permission from the original authors. This chapter belongs to sierra. steinbrecher who has graciously allowed me to adapt her work. Please let me know what you think of it, and whether you have any idea on how to improve as I go along. Thank you for reading!