Racers of the Night

A product of throwing together some comedic lines and some tacit inspiration from Brownies and Griffin's story Night Rider.

[Modern AU] Dragons coincide with the people of Berk. They live in the wild awaiting study, they are trained to help with labours construction and are rode upon in the legendary Dragon Races. When Hiccup Haddock discovers a breed thought to be a myth, it sparks a revolution of change that shifts the course of the city forever.

As per British and Australian writing and publishing standards I use single quotation marks for dialogue.
I am Australian.

When I Was A Boy PART 1

He set down the leather clad journal on the table with his wrapped sandwiches before seating himself down. Almost immediately, he was joined on either side by two individuals with lunch of their own. They cast a quick glance around the brick layered courtyard complex watching as the small groups of people took to their own business; it was another typical day at school. He opened the book to the opening page, took out his pen and began writing furiously down the page.

Thursday, June 12, 2014…

If I had to explain things as plain as possible, there's no denying it, I'm not exactly the popular type; I'm smaller than most my age and have a slight tendency to be accident prone. But I'm not a complete loner if the idea has made itself immediately apparent. I have a few good friends, though much like myself they've appeared to be exiled by the main social demographics. I guess you could call them groups like nerds or jocks but to be honest those stereotypes don't fit the mould; they're more mixed. It all comes down to recognition of skill, the more of an impact you could make the better. So, I guess I should be near the top of chain by that definition, but the only impacts I seem to make are of my face hitting the floor. Most the time it's my own fault, I've always been clumsy on my feet but there are the occasional trips in the hallways or shoves from more muscly individuals. But that's life at school, everyone's always trying to push to the front.

I suppose by now I'd better introduce myself. My 'legal' name is Harold Horrendous Haddock. Great name, I know; if you want to be extra formal you can add 'the third', but that almost never happens and only my relatives call me Harold. Everyone else knows me as Hiccup. Now I could complain about being called by an involuntary bodily muscle spasm, but I can't exactly argue against the masses nor could I ignore the fact that it is kind of fitting to my nature. That's another rant for another time. So who am I? Well it's no secret I'm the only son of Steven, 'Stoick the Vast,' Mayor of the great city of Berk. Great being representative of its reputation thanks to Dad, otherwise it's cold for most of the year and hail is more or less a common occurrence. Why someone thought it would be a good idea to raise a city here I don't think I'll ever know, but it's home nonetheless. What do I do? I go to school like any typical kid, the Academy of Berk; a private institution with a reputation of high achieving graduates and good facilities. Their words, not mine.

Firstly though, there are a few other things to make note of before I delve into the complicated mess that is my life. I've mentioned Dad but what about Mom. My mother, Valka was in an accident when I was five, there was no evidence of her body, just the wreckage and some damaged paper files. No one has seen her since so it's just Dad and myself which as hard as it still is, we've managed well enough. The other interesting note to make is that the local wildlife is well, more exotic than one might expect. Not Giraffes or lemurs kind of exotic no. We have… dragons. Winged, fire breathing dragons.

It's a normal experience for us to see the magnificent creatures soaring through the sky, but for the tourists, it's one thing to hear the legends but entirely another to see one up close. So this is the world I live in, the wondrous city of fantastical beasts and the normal struggles of a fifteen year old. It's funny to look at your life with that perspective, kind of makes you feel a bit more out of place as if you're the stranger here. In some ways that's still true like I said, I'm not all that popular.

So who are these people in this great city, who is it that I look up to with the wish to be noticed or appreciated? Well there are your John's, Sam's, Sarah's and Sophie's of course but for me it's my two best and well, only friends. Firstly there's Camilla Boggs, or Cami for short. I've known her for as long as I can remember, she has no fear, a wild spirit and is very determined. She's as small as me which works to her advantage as she's often breaking into things. She's never been caught and there isn't a lock she can't pick. Except maybe military grade or a government estate but if she's set her mind to task, there's always away. Cami has a saying, 'Nothing's impossible just improbable,' and coming from her I believe it considering some of the stuff she extracts with her sticky fingers. A lot of said stuff she gives to me for my personal projects, not by request mind you. I might happen to mention something in conversation and then the next thing you know she's back with the part. It's the kind of kindness I've always liked about her, it's unconditional which I find strange because, Cami doesn't like boys. Whether it's in 'that' way or not I'm honestly too afraid to ask so, I don't know why she likes me and seems to be perfectly fine in wanting to hang out but to every other guy that takes notice of her or tries an advance hastily reconsiders. In turn, she earnt the name Camicazi; the teachers even use it on occasion. Then the question I get asked in consequence of course is if we are together, the thinking being she's making a point of being taken? Well we aren't for that very reason. Maybe if she did like boys I may have summoned up the courage to ask her; though, she knows me to well in that line of thinking.

Anyway, my other best friend is Thomas Mogadon or 'Thuggory' thanks to his beefy frame. But like the cliché that it is, his hard exterior hides a golden heart. I've never seen someone so gentle with hands like that but not to discount his strength at all; if he had to be, he could use his strength and though he would never dare try, I reckon he could overpower my Dad in raw strength, given a few years of course. I haven't known him as long as Cami but it was through the meeting of our fathers, his being a respectable member of the city council and close advisor to mine. Neither of us are really interested in the council matters so we could relate there and as it turned out we had even more in common. Of course, I began to envy his simpler outlook on life, he didn't bother himself with the larger than life dreams of discovery or trying to meet the expectations of others by proving himself. He went day by day with school, and training for sport matches on weekends. Though he does spout about a career in dragon protection, in helping the sensitive relation between us and them. I reckon he'd be great there; people tend not to listen to the warnings about proper handling and provoking dragons both domesticated but especially those in the wild. In fact, it's causing a bit of strain on Dad in managing the relations, not to mention he's not a big fan on dragons in the first place; we simply just don't know enough about them.

I think that's kind of interesting though, we live among them and see them every day documenting their lifestyles but it's as if they know we're watching so they hide away. I might have to reiterate that point, we have access to many species in relations to the great Dragon Sanctuary and alongside it, the tourism hotspot of our national sport, Dragon Racing. The dragons rode upon are the more common species and easier to tame like the Deadly Nadder, the Gronkle, Hiddeous Zippleback and Monstrous Nightmare. They're quicker to trust and as such we have uncovered many mysteries but the more reclusive kinds that only live in the wild like Thunderdrums, Changewings, Scauldrons and Whispering Deaths are still beyond our ability to study effectively. Even then, there are rumours of other dragons we have yet to actually see, though their marks have been left, Skrill's, Boneknappers, Smothering Smokebreaths and others that exist only in a description. I've read and heard tales of stone cracking beasts, others with enchanting melodic calls and rift swirling terrors of the deep. However, there is one species so rare it's believed to be no more than a myth; they call it the Night Fury. Both Cami and Thuggory say I have an obsession with that dragon, it was only a bit of research that I managed to find, research anyone could too. They say the Night Fury is the unholy offspring of lightning and death itself which is ridiculous because all dragons hatch from eggs, that its cry can be heard above all others and even whispers of a secret power, though I doubt the last part has any value. Sometimes I dream of being the first to find one.

Hiccup's excitement in the theoretical matters became caught in his throat when he lay sight upon a group of people approaching. Five individuals walking in stride with several heads watching them pass in awe.

It's not so much that they are the 'cool group' more they are the absolute coolest people in my cohort. There's just one problem, to them; I'm just another face in the crowd, the small stuttering guy who shy's a smile or waves tentatively in the shadows to be returned with little more sheer ignorance. Most of the time anyway.

As each of them passed, He took noteof their expressions towards him. The first being a stocky teen with solid arms and jet black hair payed a sharp glance his way. It was brief but the chilling expression in his eyes was unmistakeable. Following were the twins, brother and sister with long blond hair tied down their sides. The brother flickered his eyebrows at him before returning to whatever humorous conversation he was part of. Next a very large boy with round eyes and short blond hair, he looked as though he was contemplating something mid-flight before shoving part of his burger into his mouth. He paid them no mind too busy in his own thoughts. At the back, a lean girl with blond hair tied in a braid over her back walked past with a spring in her step. Time seemed to slow as she did, her braid swinging and azure eyes sparkling much like her smile, revealing two perfect rows of white teeth. She turned her head in his direction and how his cheeks burned. Whilst he expected a negative response, he was surprised to be greeted with a softer expression, a frown at first ending with a half smile but it was enough to make his heart flutter. They passed on to their own table leaving him with sniggering on either side.

'What did I tell you Thuggory, completely smitten,' Cami remarked earning a light chuckle from him in return.

Hiccup groan ducking his head before returning to the journal. 'Shut up,' he said half-heartedly.

I'll start with who is essentially their ring leader; Scott Jorgenson. 'Snotty' Scotty he had earned the name of, so far as it being extended to Snotlout thanks to his loutish behaviour. Can I really blame him though, the guy's like a hundred kilograms of muscle and a beast on the fields. When it comes to contact sport there are few who can rival his brute strength, or inflated head for that matter. When I say they are the coolest, it's because they can achieve incredible feats, not because they are necessarily nice people, Gods, what would I know? I wouldn't be caught dead running onto the fields against or even with Scott. Then again, I probably wouldn't even hit the fields anyway, it's not my scene.

Next are the twins, Rachel and Ted Thorston. Now compared to Scott, these two are actually dangerous. Put together you have the two most academic science students in my year if not the school; if only their knowledge was put to more constructive uses. They are the masters of mayhem, the kings of practical jokes and almost everyone at some point has been a victim of their Loki-ish schemes. They're called Ruffnut and Tuffnut in regards to their self-inflicted testing and it's not always voluntary. They have the most intense sibling rivalry I've ever seen constantly trying to one up each other even when working on the many strange experiments that should have put them in the hospital for weeks, but here they stand perfectly fine. They're rough and freaking tough but quite frankly I just think they're nuts.

After that is a genuine nice guy, probably because he's a straight up geek and not all too fond of reckless behaviour; Finlay Ingerman. He's even bigger than Scott but I don't think it's quite muscle. If you're thinking he hangs around because he's made to do their homework or something that's farther from the truth. Yes he's one of the top academics in most subjects, always spouting off statistics and the like but really he offers academic advice and tutoring for people to improve so he's popular in that regard. Heck even Scott's done sessions with him even though their friendship has been openly rocky at times. He has spoken to me a few times even as far as working on a project together some time ago but nothing more than a 'professional' standing. I think it's a shame really, I reckon we have a lot in common.

Finally, is the most incredible girl I know. Her name is Astrid Hofferson. It couldn't be more fitting because she does indeed have divine strength. She's smart, athletic and very competitive. When I said Scott has rivals, Astrid is his greatest; I can't count how many times she's beaten him on the track or beaten him 'up' for that matter. Scott has a tendency to try and flirt to utterly no success, it's a little annoying actually to watch is futile efforts. So obviously she isn't interested in meatheads, though she doesn't seem to take an interest in anyone for that matter unless it's competition. Her life outside of school is somewhat of a mystery to everyone qctually, though I've heard some rough rumours and they weren't exactly good. My friends tease me about having the biggest crush on her which, ok it's kind of true. Well completely true, but the point is she wouldn't ever want to go out with me. I have noticed she has a particular interest in dragons just for different reasons to me. I want to study dragons for secrets and their behaviour whereas she watches the races and that lifestyle. Did I mention she's as pretty as a Valkyrie, with the shimmering golden hair and sparkling azure blue eyes…

'You're doing it again Hiccup.'

He broke from the dreamy stance sitting up in his chair, the pen dropping on the pages in surprise. He cast a shy glance towards the slender girl dressed in a dark woollen top and jeans, her long blond hair trailing freely in wild locks down her back. She was piercing him with the same cheeky and crazed expression he'd known all his life. An all knowing grin projecting she knew exactly what he was thinking about. He felt his cheeks burn and hid away his face again, returning to the journal.

But for now, I have a regular life navigating through the halls of the Academy. At least on the weekend Dad and I are taking a short trip up north to the Raven's Point National Park, he says a bit of fresh air would do us good. I find it a bit interesting really, Dad and I aren't as close as we once were. He'll never admit it but I can see the look of disappointment he silently wears when he thinks I'm not looking. I'm not sure why though, he knows I don't want to follow his footsteps or partake in physically challenging activities, perhaps he was hoping I would. I'd be more like he was then, that's probably it though; I'm just too different.

The bell sounded breaking his concentration. Parties of people all gathered their scraps depositing them in the bins before returning inside to their next classes. The trio jumped up from the wooden bench to file in with everyone else when Cami leaned into Hiccup's ear.

'Don't trip over your daydreams, you might fall on a certain someone,' she teased causing him to sigh in frustration before quickening his pace.

Cami laughed from behind at the hot embarrassment, he was flushed with but a half glance back revealing a fresh smile on his face was the very reassurance she knew would come.

'Boys. You're so predictable,' she mused the mischievous glint in her eye an obvious give away she was going to have some fun with this.

To be Continued in When I was a Boy Part 2