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Rated: 13+ · Draft · Drama · #2193555
Hiccup becomes unexpectedly angry at the twins and everyone is unnerved


§ § §


“What were you thinking?” Hiccup glared at the twins. “Oh, wait—you weren’t thinking, and we had to put out three fires.” He stood stiffly, frustration in his voice. Tuffnut, oblivious to Hiccup’s tone, answered him.

“We wanted to see how high Monstrous Nightmares could flame themselves. It was an experiment for our record book. We,” Tuffnut stated, “were engaged in scientific discovery. “

“Yeah, we just got some of those Nightmares together so they’d light themselves on fire. We wanted to see how much flame they could make.” Ruffnut’s grin was manic. “It was amazing.”

Astrid, along with the other riders, watched the exchange closely. They and their dragons were exhausted, and the clubhouse smelled of smoke. She saw Ruff and Tuff high five one another and seethed. This wasn’t the first time they’d nearly burned down Dragon’s Edge, but there was no Fireworm infestation this time; today’s stunt was entirely their doing. The other riders, covered in soot and ash, waited for Hiccup’s reaction. His response to the idiocy of the twins ranged from eye-rolling to “Why? No, don’t answer that, I don’t want to know.” Today, his restraint with those muttonheads seemed to have run short; Hiccup was turning red, clearly fed up with them both. He raised his voice.

“You agitated a group of wild Nightmares into setting themselves on fire. You started a forest fire, then left while it was burning and moved them to another part of the forest so you could try it somewhere else.” Hiccup tried controlling his voice, and failed. “Then you did it again.”

“Well, yeah,” Tuffnut said. “We couldn’t keep track of the Nightmares’ incendiary abilities if burning trees were in the way. Too much extra flame, y’know?” He paused, adding, “I thought you would have figured that out.”

“Yeah,” Ruff added. “Seems obvious to me.”

Hiccup flattened his palms on the table, breathing hard. Wow, thought Astrid. I know they have a death wish. I just didn’t expect Hiccup to be the one who kills them.

He thrust out one arm, pointing at the twins. “You have no idea what you did, do you? We almost lost two watchtowers; if the wind had changed, that fire would have burned down the dragon stables. Every Nightmare on Dragon’s Edge flamed up, and I had to send Hookfang and Snotlout out there to calm down the wild Nightmares and search for any other blazes they set.” He gathered himself together, then said, “We needed them to help put out the fires you set. Hookfang’s wing blasts would have kept the fire moving in one direction, instead of spreading out. By the time they returned, we’d extinguished most of it. But if we had Hookfang and Snotlout available, there’d have been less destruction.”

Tuffnut piped up. “Why would we want less destruction?”

Ruffnut, more aware of how much trouble they were in, elbowed her brother. Astrid heard her hiss in his ear and hoped Ruff could convince him to shut up. The more the twins spoke, the worse Hiccup’s anger grew. Now he was infuriated; she hoped that muttonhead had enough survival instinct to say nothing, not even an apology. Look embarrassed, you idiot. Look regretful. Maybe he’ll calm down. No, it was too late.

Hiccup wasn’t angry; Hiccup was infuriated, and unable to speak.

Fishlegs whispered to her, “He reminds me of Stoick when he’s outraged. But scarier.”

Stoick, the Chief on Berk, was known as short-tempered, but Hiccup reserved his anger for his enemies—those who threatened Berk, the Edge, or the dragons. He rarely got angry at anyone on Berk or at the Edge. Those chuckleheaded twins might have earned it, but Fishlegs was right. Hiccup furious at one of them was frightening.

His fists were clenched. Astrid noted Hiccup's dragon, Toothless, sidle closer to him and press his body firmly into Hiccup. They stared at one another; Hiccup glanced at the room and nodded at Toothless, saying, “Yeah. You go first.” They circled the room. Toothless would stop before a dragon and Hiccup would speak privately to each one, spending extra time with the Barf and Belch. Then Toothless jerked his head toward the doorway and they fled.

They stared at Hiccup. Ignoring the twins, he addressed the others. “The dragons were becoming nervous. I told them they’d done nothing wrong. Toothless made them leave.” Turning back to the twins, he said, “I told Barf and Belch we weren’t angry at them, only you two. They weren’t in a rush to see what our anger looked like.”

“We?”

“Toothless and I.”

Hiccup was gone. He’d never been so intimidating. He tolerated their idiosyncrasies and even laughed about them. He led them for years before they settled on the Edge. Toothless—Hiccup’s best friend and giver of spit baths—was his constant companion. The Night Fury fought for all of them, but had saved Hiccup countless times—sometimes in battle and sometimes from his own idiocy. They worked together on everything, and no friendship could have been stronger. But the team had forgotten something.

On the outpost, Hiccup was Chief and Toothless was the Alpha dragon.

Astrid felt a chill. Hiccup—this wasn’t him. The speech, the anger, the intimidation tactics were out of place. He wanted to be angry at the twins. He wanted to shock them. He would use Toothless, use his skill with the other dragons, use his position, to subdue the twins. He wanted them to know he would not tolerate this shit any longer. Astrid could see it. He’d gone somewhere dark, and someone needed to reach him. She stood up and walked over to him.

“Hiccup?”

“Not now.” His eyes stayed fixed on the twins.

“Hiccup.”

“Later, Astrid.” His tone was deliberate; he wouldn’t look at her. She kept trying.

“Hiccup. Look at me.”

“Don’t push me.” His voice, angry and frustrated, spurred her on.

“Look at me, Chief.”

His head snapped around. “Do not call me that.” She heard the fragment of hurt in his words.

Softly, she said, “Hiccup, you wouldn’t listen to me or look at me. You’re ignoring me right now.” She held his gaze. “If you want me to call you Hiccup, then be Hiccup. ”

A hush fell upon the room. Hiccup turned and walked away from her, his shoulders bowed. Toothless followed him, offering him soft croons of comfort. Hiccup reached down with one hand to scratch the Night Fury. His anger faded, and she sensed the tension in the room ease. Hiccup, their friend, had returned from whatever ugly, hostile place held him, and their relief showed in their faces. He was troubled, but Astrid was not leaving him until they sorted out the problem. She looked at Heather, mouthing “go,” and the other girl steered the twins outside, flanked by Fishlegs and Snotlout.

Toothless nudged Hiccup to the table, pushed him into a seat, and settled his blocky black head in his friend’s lap. Astrid sat beside him, placing her hand close to his. Something inside him hurt, and she was not leaving him until he’d told her what was wrong.

“Hey.”

He turned his head toward Astrid and nodded. Then he returned to staring at his lap, avoiding her as much as possible. He couldn’t leave—he knew she wouldn’t let him—but he would keep this inside him if possible. He had looked at Astrid, listened to her, and not ignored her. Now she expected him to talk.

“Hiccup?”

“Yeah, Astrid?” He sounded resigned to answering her.

“What’s the best way to wash Stormfly?”

He gave her an incredulous stare. “What?”

“I want to know if there’s a better way to clean her. I’ve been using soap and a broom, but I think I’m missing itchy spots and loose scales. She seems uncomfortable.” Astrid attempted an open eyed sincere look; it seemed to work for Toothless, and Astrid had nothing to lose.

Hiccup looked bewildered. “Astrid...”

She let exasperation color her voice—not that difficult, he could be aggravating—and asked,“Hiccup, are you listening to me?”

“Yes, I’m listening to you, okay?” Now he was miffed at her.

“Then answer my question.”

He raised his eyebrows at her, but she didn’t relent. Hiccup sighed. “Well, Nadder scales do get dry; that’s probably why she’s itchy. Does she itch in the same places all the time?”

“It looks that way. Do you have any ideas?” Astrid wanted to know what he thought. Stormfly didn’t have any real problems with itchiness, but one day she might, and Hiccup was good at solving weird problems.

“Check to see if you’re cleaning her everywhere, it might just be soap you didn’t rinse out. Examine the harder to reach places first. If she’s clean all over an extra rinse might help, but I’d go with oil, too. I doubt Stormfly would resist anything that made her feel and look better. He smiled. “She’s pretty vain.”

“Yep. I’ll try that on her. Thanks.”

He cocked his head to one side. “Do you want my tips on handling her loose scales, or are we done with Stormfly maintenance now?” Toothless sniggered.

“I think we’re done for now.” She placed her hand over his. “Time for a new topic.”

“Look, Astrid, I’m okay. Really, I’m fine, you don’t have to worry about me.” He rose and began pacing.

“Hiccup, I know something’s bothering you. What happened today, the way you acted with the twins, wasn’t normal. You became angry at those idiots, and that’s not who you are, Hiccup.”

“Do you actually believe I had no reason to be angry? They nearly burned down the Edge, Astrid! They paid no attention to anything around them. The stupid record book they’re making, the need to blow up anything in sight, and the way they waste our time is driving me crazy.”

“I know, Hiccup, I know. Stormfly and I were putting out the fires along with you. Heather wanted to drop them on a seastack without their dragon, and Snotlout was about to launch them out of a catapult. We all understand why you’re mad at them. They didn’t even help put out the fire. I’m impressed you didn’t bring that up to them.”

“I didn’t want them there, Astrid. I can’t trust them with our safety when they created this fiasco. It’s not worth the risk. I need people I can rely on, not Loki on a dragon.”

Something niggled at the back of Astrid’s mind. A fragment of memory, a...something. Arrgh. She wasn’t going to remember it now, so she’d just keep talking and hope it surfaced. So, where to go from here?

Astrid had never heard Hiccup be so opposed to the twins. He knew the Thorston twins lived in some kind of alternate archipelago, but he recognized their good points. Hiccup wasn’t back from wherever he’d gone to previously; worry and fury kept dragging him back. She called herself fearless, and she needed to be that right now, because she was about to stand atop a rumbling volcano and hope it didn’t incinerate her. “They’re wild and do insane things, Hiccup, but they’re pretty good in a crisis. We could have used them.”

Hiccup snapped. “Astrid. Ruff and Tuff play stupid, dangerous pranks, and the rest of us have to clean up their mess. Every single time, Astrid, we get taken away from something important, because they never listen, they never think, and they never do what we expect from them.”

There it was again—that half thought that meant something. Something to do with...Gobber?


“They caused the fires, Hiccup. They ought to be cleaning it up. If we do all the work, they get away with it and the rest of us work harder.” Okay, no eruption yet. Something flickered in her mind—that half thought that mattered. Something to do with...Stoick? Fishlegs? His book?

Fishlegs decided to write the history of the dragon riders, she recalled. He’d been interviewing people from the tribe, trying to pry every morsel of information from people. Stoick stated he had nothing to offer, while Hiccup discussed everything from finding Toothless to the present. For any kind of background, Fishlegs went to Gobber. Stoick was his best friend and Hiccup his blacksmith’s apprentice, so Fishlegs asked him about them.

Gobber loved to talk and couldn’t keep a secret, so Fishlegs was buried in details about Stoick and Hiccup. She heard from Fishlegs that Stoick lived in terror of something happening to Hiccup. When he was younger, Hiccup was scrawny and accident prone and unable to stay put. Coping with Hiccup was a strain on the Chief, and Gobber was his sounding board.

Fishlegs decided to write the history of the dragon riders, she recalled. He’d been interviewing people from the tribe, trying to pry every morsel of information from people. Stoick stated he had nothing to offer, while Hiccup discussed everything from finding Toothless to the present. For any kind of background, Fishlegs went to Gobber. Stoick was his best friend and Hiccup his blacksmith’s apprentice, so Fishlegs asked him about them.

Gobber loved to talk and Fishlegs was buried in details about Stoick and Hiccup. Fishlegs said that Stoick lived in terror of something happening to Hiccup. When he was younger, Hiccup was scrawny and accident prone and unable to stay put. Coping with Hiccup was a strain on the Chief, and Gobber was his sounding board.

Stoick’d say the same things every time. ‘What do I do, Gobber? The lad has no ability to listen. He argues and makes excuses. He’s driving me crazy. Does the boy never think?’





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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2193555