How to Train Your Dragon
DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN BRAVE, HTTYD NOR THE CHARACTERS FROM SAID MOVIES. THEY BELONG TO THEIR RESPECTIVE OWNERS.
CLAIMER: ANY OCS BELONG TO ME.
Note: I haven't done much research on Norse or Celtic history/mythology. No flaming for inaccuracy please.
Gifts and Confusion
There it was again. Another flash of Toothless ran through Hiccup's mind and the black dragon just circled around the boy, spinning faster and faster. His wings were spread far so one just barely grazed Hiccup's arms as it moved. Hiccup didn't bother looking around. He didn't want to see everything that was lost to him. Gradually, Toothless slowed down and finally stopped flying to stand in front of him. Hiccup closed his eyes, not wanting to look at his friend. The dragon growled at him, but he didn't flinch at the sudden hostility. The growl was low and harsh as it rumbled through the empty space that enveloped Hiccup. Unexpectedly, a voice emerged from the growl, but it was just as heavy.
"Look at me..." it said.
Though Hiccup continued to look into the darkness behind his eyelids. The growling became louder.
"Have you already forgotten my face?"
Hiccup shook his head slowly.
"Do you still care for me?"
He nodded this time, but a small tear leaked past his cheek and chin and onto the ground.
"Then look at me."
Hiccup still didn't look up, and he could hear the sound of a dragon flapping its wings. Giving up, he opened his eyes, but Toothless was gone.
Everything was gone. Hiccup now lay staring at a ceiling, a heavy weight pushing down on his entire body with the cold night nipping at his tear-stained cheeks. He just laid there at the thoughts and images from his dream slowly melted away, till all he could remember was a blur, and a voice. He sighed, as he tried to think on where he was...and why it was so hot. Groaning, he tried to sit up, but he only made it a few inches above the mattress before falling back down. Looking down, he saw a massive amount of sheets and blankets wrapped around him tightly. He gave another sigh before he began pushing and kicking the many layers off. He slightly regretted it when a sudden burst of cold air hit his body. Grabbing the top blanket, he wrapped it around himself, then set his foot on the floor to get out of the room. He had no idea why since he remembered where he was now. He was in the house of MacGuffin, Cathal's room to be exact.
With great effort, he pushed himself up only to fall over. He grabbed the bed post closest to him to steady himself, then he looked around for his prosthetic. Cursing under his breath, he grabbed his half-wooden, half-metal leg and sat down on the bed to attach it to his stump. After it was secure, he got up again and made his way to the door.
"Where are ye goin'?" a voice said slowly behind him.
Turning, Hiccup saw Cathal at the end of the room, sitting up on the cot Hiccup had slept on nights before.
Hiccup ran through his head trying to come up with some sort of excuse, "How's Merida doing?"
"Surprisingly?" Hiccup cocked his head as he made his way back to the bed.
Cathal shrugged his shoulders. "Ah've never seen her so scared before than when she was on th' ice. Ah thought she'd be a bit shaken when she woke up, but a couple hours ago she came in ta check on ye, but practically skipped away when she heard ye were doin' fine."
Hiccup raised an eyebrow to Cathal, but the Lord's son just shrugged his shoulders again, showing he knew nothing. They sat there in silence for a few moments as Hiccup thought of possible motives for Merida's actions. Cathal just sat there, looking at Hiccup with curiosity.
"What's 'toothless?'" he said suddenly.
Hiccup almost jumped when he heard the name out loud. "What?"
"'Toothless.' You kept mumbling it over and over in your sleep."
"Oh. It's...nothing." he looked down.
"Is it a name?"
Hiccup nodded his head, still looking at and tracing the patterns on the quilt he was now sitting on. "It was the name of a friend back home."
"You Icelanders have strange names."
Hiccup gave him a quizzical look, then remembered that he and Merida had to lie to him about where he was from. "Oh! Yeah. Well, it's not like we can choose them or anything. Our parents choose them for us."
Yet another awkward silence overcame them and the two of them just sat there looking around at the room. Curiosity overcame the viking as he picked up a small canvas lying on the floor next to the bed and stared at it.
"Did you paint this?" he said, looking deep into the picture. It was hard to see it in the dark, but he could make out a portrait of someone. It was a girl, but she wasn't finished.
"Oh!" Cathal hadn't realized what Hiccup was looking at, and he quickly ran over and yanked the canvas out of his hands. "This isn't finished yet!"
"Well, are there any that are?" Hiccup had now become interested in this newly found talent.
Cathal blushed, then nodded his head, but didn't move. It wasn't until Hiccup had raised an eyebrow, expecting to see some of his work that he put down the painting he was holding and picked up another one from across the room. Once it was in his hands, Hiccup turned his hands and the painting to get the best look at it from the small light that came from the moon out of the window. It was a picture of another girl, though he could see she had jet black hair while wearing a dark dress, but she had very light skin and bright, red lips.
"Wow, it's beautiful." said Hiccup, still scanning the painting. "Who is she?"
Cathal shrugged his shoulders. "Just someone who passed by mah window."
Hiccup picked up another one. This time it was a large man who seemed to be having trouble keeping hair on his head, but not on his chin. He kept looking through more and more, seeing faces fly past his eyes. Some were old, some were young. Some had red hair, others blonde.
"How can you get so many people to pose for you?"
Hiccup looked up from the gallery and cocked his head.
Cathal sighed, "Sometimes people pass by me, and ah just feel a sudden desire ta paint. Ah try ta memorize their face an' come back here ta put it on a canvas."
"Wow. So you can look at anyone and just paint them?"
He blushed again. "W-well...ah guess."
"That's amazing. You really have a gift."
"Thanks..." Quickly, Cathal gathered up the canvases and set them aside in a corner.
"So how many people have you done?"
"Ah don't know. A lot. Mostly everyone from our town, couple from DunBroch from a while ago, a few Macintoshes, but ah think ah've only done one from Dingwall."
"Have you done anything else? Like animals or plants?"
His face scrunched up, "Actually, no. Mostly just people."
"Really? How come?"
He shrugged his shoulders before sitting back down on the cot. "Ah just prefer paintin' people."
Hiccup shrugged as well, showing he understood, then laid back down on the bed as Cathal curled up in a blanket. They just laid there for a few minutes in silence, Hiccup's eyelids slowly growing heavier and heavier as the weight of the night pulled him into sleep, but he jolted when Cathal's voice pulled him back.
He sighed. "Yeah?"
"Do ye like Merida?"
Hiccup sat up straight and just stared at Cathal, a puzzled look frozen on his face. "Why do you ask?"
He shrugged his large shoulders, the blanket moving as he did. "'Toothless' wasn't th' only thing ye were mumblin' in yer sleep."
Hiccup didn't answer his question. He fell back onto his pillow, his eyes wide. To be honest, he didn't really know the answer himself. Sure, he liked her, but she was just a friend, plus he was in love with Astrid...but Astrid was gone with Berk...but could he really betray her? He grabbed his hair in frustration.
There was no falling asleep after this.
What are dreams? Are they reels of images of a subconscious thought? Are they visions of the past or future? What is their purpose? Merida didn't know, and frankly, she didn't care. All she knew was they haunted her. On one particular night, she tossed and turned as images and sounds roared through her brain.
She was lying on the ground, her eyes looking up to the sky which moved faster than she could process, turning from day to night and back again. Her hair was sprawled on the ground as much as she was, a gentle weight pushing her down. Above her she could see something flying about above her head, but she couldn't make out what it was. It looked like a large bird, just going past the sky every now and then. She reached out to it, but it was gone. Then she could hear the ocean waves as they licked her heels, and the weight on her got heavier and heavier to the point where she couldn't even move. The salt water continued to lap around her legs before it reached her torso and neck, then completely enveloped her. But it didn't feel like she was in the ocean. It was hot...like fire...Fire and pressure that curled her into a ball before encompassing her in a cage of steel. She wanted to break away, get free from it, but it was unbreakable. Suddenly, she saw her mother's face in front of her, then it changed to the Demon Bear Mor'du. Screaming, she let out a breath only to gasp reality back into her life.
Her heart was thumping fast, though her blue eyes opened slowly as she woke up. Though she was given a rather rude awakening when she saw six eyes peering at her over her face. She took in a gasp as Hamish, Hubert and Harris leaped off her cot, laughing.
"Get back her ye wee devils!" she called after them, jumping up and chasing them out of the room.
The King and Queen must have been up for a while since neither of them were in sight as the princess chased her brothers through the hallways. Occasionally they ran into a maid or servant as they went at a high speed, but somehow Merida managed to keep up with her mischievous brothers since they didn't know the house of MacGuffin that well.
Then out of nowhere, Hiccup and Cathal came around a corner and collided with the triplets.
"Boys!" Merida scolded through her huffs and puffs, "Get up an' apologize!"
They all mumbled some inaudible words as they scrambled on the floor, trying to get up.
"Good. Now go an' find mum. Ah'm done playin' fer now."
They ran off opposite the direction they came, giggling and whispering about their next scheme. Catching her breath, she pulled Hiccup and Cathal off the floor by their arms.
"Sorry 'bout that, laddies. Mah family can get a bit out of hand sometimes."
They nodded in forgiveness, as they dusted off their clothes.
"Well, see ye boys later!" she chirped, and skipped off to get some breakfast.
Both Hiccup and Cathal watched as she went down the hallway, her red curls bouncing up and down with each step.
"You were right." Hiccup said, turning toward Cathal after she was out of sight. "She is acting quite strange."
"Aye, it's like she's tryin' ta pretend nothin' happened."
They shrugged at each other then decided that would be a good time to continue with their previous conversation.
"So, let me get this straight," started Hiccup as they began walking again. "You like painting, your sister likes sculpting, your mother likes drawing, your brother and dad likes lifting weights-"
"Brian likes lifting, but mah dad just likes fightin'."
"Right, and your other brother likes running...his legs and his mouth."
The both chuckled.
Hiccup continued, "Sounds like half of you are the physical type, and the other half is artistic."
"Aye. Probably get th' artistic part from mah mum's side."
"Oh, no. It is most DEFINITELY from your dad's side." he exclaimed sarcastically.
The boys continued laughing till they reached their destination: the dining room.
Mostly everyone was already done with eating their breakfast, though Merida and her brothers and her mother still remained. Elinor was yet again trying to teach Merida the delicacy of table manners, though this was another hard subject for the princess. Though it was nothing like sewing, Merida's eating habits had never changed since she was little, and it was hard to change them now. The princes had just finished stuffing their mouths and grabbed a few breakfast rolls before scampering off through the door behind Hiccup and Cathal.
"No, dear. Cradle the spoon in your hand and balance it between your fingers."
Merida's hand cramped up from too much concentration, then watched as her porridge slipped back into her bowl. Grumbling in frustration, she let the spoon drop and placed her head on the table next to her bowl.
"Sit up, Merida. You're getting your food in your hair. Come now. Try again." The Queen waited for her daughter's head to rise before demonstrating once again and sipping her breakfast as gracefully as possible.
Sighing, the princess grabbed her utensil and tried moving as her mother did.
"Good. Now relax. Remember to always keep your back straight."
Merida grimaced through the continuous reminders and instructions as Hiccup and Cathal ladled themselves some breakfast. They talked about the people and events held in the land of MacGuffin as Merida continued her lesson, though Hiccup couldn't help but catch his eyes drifting toward the red hair in the corner of his eye. It didn't help that she began enveloping herself in Hiccup and Cathal's conversation after the Queen had given up, finished her meal and excused herself from the room.
"...and as ye probably couldn't tell from th' spread here, we're very proud of our breads."
"I can see why." Hiccup said, picking up another roll and using it to dip in his porridge.
Cathal continued talking, being sure to enunciate every word as they finished up their breakfast, Merida still trying to figure out her spoon.
"So did your dad have anything planned for the families today?" Hiccup inquired after his partner was finished talking.
"Oh, well mah dad had decided ta let everyone have th' day off. Especially after..." his eyes switched between Hiccup and Merida.
Hiccup also looked at Merida, remembering the previous day's unfortunate event. Though Merida just raised her eyebrows as if she had no idea.
"After what?" she said, looking at the both of them.
Cathal's face sank a bit as if he was afraid of her reaction. "Well...after yesterday when you...with th' ice an' all..."
Merida gave a small chuckle. "Yer dad shouldn't worry 'bout that. Ah'm perfectly fine."
"Are you sure?" said Hiccup, looking at her with a worried look, "You seemed pretty scared when-"
"Ah wasn't scared!"
Both the boys jumped at this sudden reaction, even though Cathal had braced himself for it.
"B-but you said-"
"That was just a reaction!"
Before any of them could collect themselves, Merida stood up and stormed out of the room, her stomps rattling her bowl, still filled with her breakfast. Hiccup wanted to call out to her, stop her to see what was wrong, but his words were caught in his mouth and he just stared with his mouth open. He looked to Cathal for help, but he just shrugged.
"Ah guess she may not be as alright as we thought." Then he stood and left Hiccup alone in the room.
The viking just sat there for a moment, not believing what had just happened, then took Cathal's absence as an invitation to go talk to Merida. Grabbing a couple more breakfast rolls, he went off to find where she went.
It didn't take long to find her. She was hiding out in her room, curled up on her cot where she pretended to be asleep.
"Merida?" Hiccup called to her, finding her door wide open. "Can I come in?"
She didn't respond, so after a few minutes, he just walked in and sat on the edge of her cot. He couldn't see her face which was covered with her hair, though he could see her face was red and her body trembled, shaking the cot.
"Here," he said, handing her the rolls he grabbed, "I noticed you didn't eat much as breakfast."
"Not hungry..." she replied, though her voice shook and cracked.
Shrugging, he placed them on a small chest near the cot. Then he waited a few more minutes before speaking again.
"Do you want to talk?"
She shook her head, her curls covering her face even more.
"Merida..." he was about to inquire about the lake incident, but at that moment, Merida sat up, and Hiccup could see her cheeks were tear-stained and her freckled her hidden behind the deep red of her cheeks.
"Why was ah so scared?"
Hiccup's eyebrows furrowed. "What?"
"Ah've looked Mor'du, th' Demon Bear, in th' eyes an' ah wasn't nearly as frightened as ah was on th' water. Ah've climed the Crone's Tooth with no support or help an' mah body didn't go limp when ah nearly fell like ah did when th' ice broke."
Hiccup stared at her, dumbfounded. Her eyes weren't sad as her tears suggested, but more angry. Hiccup could only guess she was angry with herself. He didn't know what to do or say as he stared into his eyes as if the answer she was looking for was there.
"...What's the Crone's Tooth?..." he finally pushed out of his mouth.
Merida groaned and laid back down on the cot. She had forgotten she hadn't told him about it.
"It's a large rock next to a waterfall that's at least a hundred feet high. It is known as th' gateway to th' Fire Falls." she mumbled.
Hiccup was about to ask what in Odin's name the Fire Falls were, but he kept his mouth shut as she already seemed distressed enough for having to explain something to him, so he just nodded slowly. He then turned to her previous explosion and tried coming to a quick conclusion.
"Well, maybe you were so scared because...you were all alone on the ice?"
She sat up again, pushing her curls away, "But everyone was there, an' ah was alone when ah was clawin' on a giant pillar of rocks. Except Angus was with me."
It took a moment for Hiccup to realize this was the Crone's Tooth again, and he set his mind to thinking again.
"Maybe...it was because you were defenseless..."
She looked up into his eyes again, a bit at a loss of words to argue.
Hiccup continued, trying to explain his point. "I assume you had some sort of weapon when facing Mor'du so you could fight against him, and when one climbs a rock surface they have the ability to ascend or descend up and down where they want to go. Sure, there's the possibility of getting killed or falling, but when you stood on the ice, it seemed like there was nothing you could do. You had to wait for someone to come save you else the possibility of death was a certainty."
After he finished, they remained in silence, Hiccup waiting for a reaction while Merida continued to stare at him with her round eyes. She ran over everything in her mind, the ice and Hiccup's reasoning colliding with one another. She wasn't trembling anymore, and her tears had dried against her skin.
Sighing, she grabbed two of the rolls from the chest that Hiccup had put down only before throwing one of them at his face. It bounced off his cheek before landing on the floor.
"Hey! What was that for?" he exclaimed.
"It's not fair."
"It's not fair how ye can fix everythin' ye see!"
"Wha-? I don't-"
"Aye ye do! Any sort of problem ah have, ye can always clam me down an' fix it. Ye helped mah mum an' I talk ta each other again, ye saved me from th' ice, an' just now ye helped me understand myself. An' it's not fair 'cause ah haven't helped ye at all. Ah can't even understand ye sometimes."
"Are you kidding me? You've been helping me try to find the other clan that might have killed my mom."
"But we haven't even found one clue."
"True, but you still thought of it, and if it weren't for you, I'd probably be at the bottom of the ocean right now, waiting for some shark to eat my remains."
"But yer so good at everythin'!" she huffed, stuffing the other roll in her mouth. She actually was rather hungry. "Ah wish ah could be like ye." she said after swallowing.
"What? Why on earth would you want to be like me? You're brave, smart, sweet-"
"ENERGETIC, a great archer, and you're...well beautiful." He rubbed the back of his neck, fighting to keep the blood from rushing to his face.
Merida rolled her eyes. "An' what is that ta bein' a kind-hearted, inventive, dragon-ridin', string bean of a viking?"
"A lot more than you think...especially the string bean part..."
"Oy, muscles aren't the only things of worth in this world." she smiled at him, finishing the rest of her roll.
"Hey, I thought I came in here to cheer YOU up."
"Ah'm not as much of a damsel in distress as ye think ah am."
"But you're more of a damsel in distress than you pretend to be."
"Watch it, toothpick."
"First I'm a string bean, now I'm a toothpick?"
"Aye, an' ye'll always be a Hiccup." she picked up the other roll from the floor and threw it at him again, this time bopping him on the nose.
He rubbed where the roll hit him, then watched as she stood up and walked to the door.
"Thanks fer comin' ta talk ta me, Hiccup." she said, stopping in the doorway. "An' if there's anythin' ah can do ta get ye home, just ask."
"Well, unless you can find a place that's twelve days North of hopeless, and a few degrees South of freezing to death, I'm not sure there's much anyone can do."
She chortled, "Why would ye vikings live in such a place?"
"Well, we have stubbornness issues."
"Ye got that right."
He rolled his eyes, then grabbed the last roll off the chest and threw it at her before standing up. Unlike Hiccup, however, she caught it and threw it right back at a higher speed, hitting him in the arm as he tried protecting himself. Laughing, they left the room, only to stop in front of a large figure with a ghost-like expression planted on their face.
"What was that about vikings?"