Stoick is fed up with Hiccup and Toothless, and they attempt to make amends.
|AN: This is a work of fan fiction based on How to Train Your Dragon. The rights to How to Train Your Dragon reside with Cressida Cowell and DreamWorks. Only the plot is mine.
I’m sorry, but it’s true.
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“Until a few days ago, they were inseparable.” Stoick the Vast ran his fingers through his beard. “This stupid quarrel is driving me insane.”
“Eh, give it time. You signed up for having a touchy teenager the moment Hiccup was born.” Gobber grinned. “I bet you never expected the Night Fury, though.”
They stood at the base of the slope. A score of steps upward was Stoick’s home. Haddock house stood two stories tall, an extravagance, but not unexpected for the home of a Viking chief. Stoick topped seven feet, and was four hundred pounds of girth draped in scale armor. A bigger house was a necessity, if only to avoid concussion.
“It’s a constant battle. Some sarcasm and grumbling is acceptable, and I expected moodiness, but not from both of them. Hiccup refuses to listen. The dragon only listens to me if it aggravates my son. I have two adolescents, and it’s maddening.
“I lost my temper this morning.” He scowled, remembering. “The altercation became physical—I had to force them apart.”
“What did you do?”
“I told them to be silent, but they glared and snapped at each other as if I had not spoken. I had to grab Hiccup by the chin to make him face me. Toothless laughed at him and I clamped the dragon’s mouth shut.” Toothless was troublesome enough, but Hiccup had gone from being sixteen to six in a moment, and his immaturity was worse than the fighting. “I cannot recall the last time I snatched him like that—a half dozen years ago, at least.”
“The lad came to the smithy this morning, begging to pursue some project of his own. He couldn’t focus on anything else, so I let him chase whatever idea was in his head. I figured it couldn’t hurt.” Gobber shifted, taking his weight off his pegleg. “What happened next?”
“I said I was weary of them and their stupid quarrel, and if they refused to make peace, I would separate them. I told them to keep out of my sight and left.” He pinched the bridge of his nose. “I do not want to evict anyone, even for a night, but it may become necessary. Do you think it’s too much?”
“No, I don’t. This here is a case of stubborn pride. It doesn’t matter what the fight was about any longer, so long as the other one gives in.”
“Could you come in? Perhaps another person would...” Gobber interrupted Stoick.
“Nuh-uh. I’m not getting between my apprentice and his dragon.” He stabbed his hook at Stoick’s chest. “You’re Stoick the Vast—Chieftain, Warrior, living legend,” Stoick snorted, “you can handle a couple of teen-agers without my assistance. Besides,” he said, “you can always kick them both out.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.” He entered the house, resigned to forcing another truce.
Several lanterns and the fire had been lit. As his eyes adjusted, he spotted subtle differences. The trestle table had been polished. The oak surface was smooth to his touch, and light reflected off the gloss. An unfamiliar tankard sat at his place.
It was made of iron at twice the standard dimensions, a proper size for Stoick. He hefted it. Stoick had not yet found a tankard that felt heavier than a thimble, but this one had enough weight to be comfortable in his hand. The rectangular handle ran almost the height of the tankard, with a breadth that allowed Stoick to fit all his fingers inside. The thick base made spilling his drink less likely.
One area sported the Clan Haddock crest. Other smaller engravings covered the metal: the chieftain’s cape, the dragon on his belt buckle, his warhammer. Beneath a silhouette of Stoick was an engraving of his helmet, and a tiny one of Hiccup’s, a matched set. The base had another silhouette, this one of his dragon Thornado. The rim was etched with a series of irregular ovals, the shape of Night Fury scales.
Beside it sat a quarter cask of mead, its scent reminiscent of roasting meat and stolen kisses. He placed it beside the tankard, and a memory from ten years past surfaced: Hiccup, the morning after he got in his first serious trouble, rising in darkness to clean and set out dagmal for Stoick. He had been shamefaced for the transgression, and distressed he had angered Dad. The actions were an apology, and a promise to be better.
Ten years on, his son made him a tankard.
Hiccup’s bond with Toothless was powerful, but his father had been there all his life. Stoick was Hiccup’s anchor, and his outburst had unmoored his son, forced him to think, and driven him to produce the tankard. Each etched line and curve was a show of contrition from a boy who regretted hurting his father.
Stoick heard the familiar clunk of a prosthetic. They descended the steps, his son’s shoulders hunched, and the dragon’s belly grazing the floor; both avoided his eye. They were two guilty children in trouble with the grownups, hoping for mercy and doubting their chances of receiving any. Stoick donned an impassive face, gave them a long look, and gestured them toward him. Hiccup swallowed, and Stoick hid his amusement.
“Hello, Hiccup. Toothless.” The dragon offered a tentative warble.
“So, how was your day?”
“It improved once I left the house.” Hiccup grimaced, and Stoick waited for him to fill the silence.
“Yeah. I’m, um, sorry about that. I...we...might have gotten carried away with the arguing, and insults, and...stuff.” He rubbed his neck. “We didn’t mean to upset you.”
“I’m glad it was not deliberate—a planned effort would have driven me to another island.” Stoick’s voice was dry. He looked at the Night Fury. “Did you want to add to that?” Toothless crooned and gave him a mournful look.
“Have you settled your differences?” Gobber was right; if they had not, both would sleep elsewhere.
“We made up, right, Toothless?” The dragon nodded, eager to confirm Hiccup’s statement. “We’re okay now. Everything’s fine. Please don’t split us up.” So, they were inseparable again.
“All right. I accept your apologies and hope this will not reoccur.” Their relief was palpable, and they were so pitiful he wanted to laugh.
“No, no, we won’t do this again. Toothless and I know better. Really.” Hiccup’s babble ran out, and they exhaled in unison.
“Good. There is one more thing.”
Stoick’s look softened. “This tankard is magnificent, Hiccup. It is the work of a master craftsman. I never expected to own so fine a thing. It is unparalleled and I am honored you made this for me.” He included Toothless; the two were a team, and the gift came from both. “Where did the mead come from?”
“The mead is from Toothless. He bartered for it.”
“What did you barter?” Toothless cringed and put a paw over his face. Hiccup cleared his throat.
“Toothless volunteered four hours of babysitting the Quartet.” The Night Fury moaned, and Stoick’s jaw dropped.
“Those hellions?” The two sets of Thorston twins, ages four and seven, were inventive and tireless daredevils. Most in the tribe preferred battling pirates; it was safer. “Then I am twice honored. Thank you, Toothless.” The answer registered, and he blinked. “This is Gerda Thorston’s special stock. She only breaks it out for Snoggletog.”
“Toothless can be pretty persuasive. So, do you like it?”
“It’s astonishing. I have never had so personal a gift, one so suited to me. I do not have the words, Hiccup.”
“I wanted the tankard to be exclusive. Other chiefs can wear the cape, or carry a hammer, but with you and Thornado on there, it can’t belong to anyone else. People can use it, and pass it down, but only Stoick the Vast can claim it. It’s yours. I thought,” he added quietly “it could be an heirloom.”
“I would like that. I am certain no Haddock has possessed such a thing, or it would have been kept with the legacy items. To own something made for my size...you have no idea how wonderful it is.” Hiccup, barely over five feet tall, remained silent.
“I guessed at some of the dimensions. I can change it, make it heavier or enlarge the handle. If you don’t like the engraving, it can be replaced with whatever you want.”
Toothless rolled his eyes. He and Stoick knew it was perfect, and Hiccup thought it needed work. “Do not change one thing. This cannot be improved. Are we clear?” His son put up his hands, surrendering. “Did you show this to Gobber?”
“I wanted you to see it before anyone else.” He rubbed his neck. “So, you like it?”
Stoick looked at the dragon. “If you would.” Toothless whapped Hiccup with an ear flap, and Stoick nodded his thanks. “I love it. It’s perfect. The engraving is amazing. If you make me say it again, I will slap you.” A look crossed Hiccup’s face, one Stoick first saw the day Hiccup cleaned the house. The boy was with his dad, everything was fixed, and the trouble behind them. Dad was pleased and proud, and life was good again.
“Hiccup. Come and sit.” His son acquiesced, and Stoick asked him, “Where is your mark? I cannot find it.”
“I left it off. My mark would take up space I could engrave. There’s blank spots, if you want to add...” Stoick held up his hand, silencing his son.
“Good. I have changed my mind. Add your mark, a new one that includes Toothless. Choose the most prominent place available. I want everyone to know this tankard was crafted for me by my son Hiccup and his best friend Toothless. A shared heirloom, down to the final generation of Haddocks.”
Hiccup gaped, gobsmacked, and the dragon almost knocked Stoick over in his excitement.
“Yes, you are welcome, now get down. Go on, back to the floor. Toothless, do not lick me. Ugh.” Stoick drew his sleeve across his face, and Hiccup intervened.
“Give him some space, bud. Come on, stop licking him—you know the slobber doesn’t come out easy.” Toothless got down and gave Stoick an apologetic look. Hiccup spluttered.
“You lick Dad once and apologize, but I get this all the time, and you laugh at me. Stop ruining my clothes, you useless black lizard.” Stoick chuckled, then realized something was missing.
Each night since his son was four, Hiccup poured his father’s drink when he returned home—ale for difficult days, and mead when the burdens were lighter. This week, Hiccup had been the worst of Stoick’s burdens. He wanted to mend things and act like an adult, so he might pour the mead.
Hiccup had grown older, but his character remained the same.
Stoick tapped the tankard and for the first time, Hiccup filled it and Stoick drank not a measure of alcohol, but of ease. Hiccup might fail, but he more often succeeded, and while he was young, he was becoming a man to be proud of.
“Now pour one for yourself.”
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In the DreamWorks franchise, Snoggletog is similar to Christmas.
A quarter cask is fifty liters or thirteen U.S. gallons.
Dagmal—”day meal”—is the Viking equivalent of breakfast.