"It feels like I live on top of the world. On the never-summer island of Berk. Twenty days north of hopeless and a few degrees south of freezing to death. On the island, when spring finally comes to save me from a perpetual winter, the world comes to life again."
Wrapping his fingers around the metal, Hadrian sits on top of the chain dome of the Academy, his spine aligned with the chain link that suspended it from the rock-cliff above. A soft breeze brings with it a cool morning chill of spring as it entangles his brown hair. Elbows resting on his knees, hands linked together.
For the past year, Hadrian's been rising early before dawn to watch the sunrise and sunset.
The sun is rising beneath the weight of a purple twilight. This was a habit Hadrian got into a few months after Hiccup had freed him from the perilous dreamworld he'd once banished him to before. He kept thinking he was the one now stuck in a dream, and any moment he'd awaken to the grey ash-coated desolate realm.
After Hiccup managed to vanquish the demon succubus Jolene, or Lilith, Hiccup had reincarnated Hadrian; he came back for him, just as he'd promised when he found Hadrian trapped in a violet chamber.
Hadrian suffered a couple weeks of tortuous nightmares, thrashing in his bed until Hiccup would hear his wailing and rouse him from it. Hadrian was and still is living with Hiccup, until a home comes up for sale.
Sometimes Hadrian could still hear the screaming. If his head ever got too quiet, that's when it would start up. Occasionally he'd wake up in the middle of the night and there'd be blood all over his hands. And all down his arms. And he would blink several times before it would go away. Every time Hiccup would tell him to try and go back to sleep, but Hadrian was starting to doubt if he would ever know true rest again.
But soon Hiccup's words reign true.
Hadrian extends one of his arms out in front of him, staring at it as he flips it from front of back. Nothing.
Once half the sun was out, Hadrian climbed down and wandered back to the village. Walking in, the house was clear, so Hadrian helped himself to the pantry. As he was cooking the eggs over the hearth, a creaking caught Hadrian's attention. His heart tripled in speed as he whirled around. The house was empty.
The crackling of the fire did little to ease his nerves. He went back to buttering a slice of bread, the pouring his yak milk. As he placed the glass and slice down, a shadow moved in the corner of his eye.
Hadrian whirled and saw a large black thing descend on him. He yelped as Toothless pounced on him. "Ah! Toothless!"
The Night Fury started licking his face and slobbering on his tunic. Behind him, Hadrian could see a glimpse of Hiccup as he bounds the steps to his bedroom.
"Ah! Toothless, stop! You know this stuff doesn't wash out!" he says as she pushes the dragon off and wiping his face. "Bleh." Toothless coos as Hadrian washes his hands and wipes himself with a rag.
Tossing it in the hamper, Hadrian picks up his plate. As Hadrian sets it on the table, Toothless sneaks over and licks off one slice of bread, quickly crawling away. Hadrian approaches back and sees the missing piece, looking to Toothless gobbling it up.
"Okay, guess it's a half-sandwich day." He says sitting down.
Hiccup comes down the stairs as he shrugs on his leather vest. "Hey Hadrian."
"Hey Hiccup, thanks for helping me back there Hiccup, really appreciate it." Hadrian says as he makes an OK symbol with his hand.
"Anyway, how's it going?" Hiccup asks as he approaches the table. "You like your new home, make new friends?"
Hadrian stop mid-chew and looks to Toothless, than to Hiccup. "What's happening right now?" Hadrian asks.
"I'm befriending you. Sort of." Hiccup answers. "I read a book last night. Some of it."
"Maybe if you'd read it to the end, it would've said we don't need to do this." Hadrian retorts.
"Oh come on, Hadrian. You just got moved into the village, I'm still practicing magic while trying to maintain sanity at the Academy. And I just want to make sure you're doing okay."
"Hiccup, I'm fine. I promise. The only thing we need to worry about is my hunger." Hadrian shoots Toothless a glare and Toothless licks his chin. "I swear I've lost five pounds on the new Toothless diet."
As Hadrian goes and dumps the rest of his finished breakfast in the sink, Hiccup shrugs on his satchel. "Oh which reminds, listen I know I haven't been around much for dinner since you've been here,"
"Fine with me, upsetting for you but go on." Hadrian chimes in.
"There was a big project at the Academy, but it's over so I promise you, I will be home tonight and we are going to have the best dinner to celebrate your three week anniversary of living in the village. Yay." Hiccup says.
"Hiccup, just so we're clear, you are dating Astrid right?" he teases.
Hiccup glares at him. "Ha-ha-ha, oh I'm getting a cramp from not laughing." Hadrian rolls his eyes as Hiccup escorts Toothless out. "Now come on, we need to get to Gobber's."
They walk out, Hadrian locking the door behind him and they make the walk to Gobber's blacksmith shop. They enter the North Hub and arrive at the shop. Gobber wearing his hammer on his interchangeable arm and smashing away at a bright orange slap of metal.
"Ah, hello boys." He greets as he wipes his forehead.
"Hey Gobber." They say in unison.
"Hadrian, I'm glad you're here, would you mind going in back and fetching an old shield for me?" Gobber asks as he sharpens the sword on the rotating stone.
"Yeah sure." Hadrian says as he shrugs off his vest and drapes it over the back of a chair. Revealing his thick arms, corded with strong muscles that strain against the short sleeves of his navy tunic.
As he heads towards Hiccup's back room, Hiccup noticed out of his peripherals a trio of girls huddled, giggling and pointing. Hiccup rolled his eyes as he went over and plucked an axe from a nearby barrel.
Hiccup brings it to a counter and studies its weight as Hadrian comes back with the shield. "Here you go Gobber."
"Thank you." He says as she takes the box. "Oh and uh, by the way, I think you've got a fanclub." Gobber teases, receiving a reply of Hadrian rolling his eyes. He moves to the back while Hadrian leans against the anvil. "Hey Hadrian could you go up in the attic and fetch out a box for me please?"
"What's in it?" Hadrian asks.
"Oh just weapons from my glory days. I want to spruce them up a bit." Gobber explains.
"You know, even for a blacksmith, you've got too many weapons." Hadrian says as he walks to the ladder.
"I swear I think he stole my knife when I was younger" Hiccup teases.
As Hadrian goes up the ladder, Gobber leans in near Hiccup. "How's he doing?"
"He's doing fine, Gobber." Hiccup answers.
"Ah, the poor kid. All his life he was trapped in that place, now that he's here, he has no one. No one!" Gobber says.
"You know I can still hear you!" Hadrian shouts from the attic.
Hiccup chuckles. "Look Gobber Hadrian's doing fine, and the villagers are welcoming him, and wait a minute, I just remembered someone he does have, give me a minute, it's coming to me, give me a second, that's right me!"
"Of course he has you, but you've got so much on your plate. A new and sudden friend, your job at the Academy, your new abilities in magic growing rapidly. This whole thing could be a disaster." Says Gobber.
Hiccup presses his lips into a tight flat line. "Sometimes, you're negative."
Hadrian comes back down from the attic, carrying a box with nuts and bolts.
"Alright thanks Hadrian. You can just throw away any rusty old parts." Gobber instructs.
"Got it." Hadrian assures. Once Gobber heads to the back, Hadrian turns to Hiccup. "Look Hiccup, I know you mean well, and we both know this whole thing is new for me; but that doesn't mean I need your help adjusting, or anything."
"Well, I'm sorry, it's just, you helped me so much in the dreamworld and I guess I just wanted to pay you back. In a sense." Hiccup says.
"You need to "repay" me Hiccup, and I don't need you to try and help me with my feelings. Though I appreciate you caring."
"I just don't want to blow it. You're actually a good guy, and you deserve good friends." Hiccup implores.
"Hey," Hadrian walks over and ruffles Hiccup's hair. "I've got the best of friends."
Hiccup smiles as they go back to work. He glances and snickers. "Heads up, here they come."
Hiccup casually walks towards the front of the shop while Hadrian simultaneously blends to the back. Of the three girls approaching, one steps forward with a bit of confidence as she walks up.
She had ginger hair in a fishtail braid with a purple tunic and matching pants. Smashley, her name was. "Hi Hiccup." She greets.
"Hello my future boyfriend, Hadrian." She greets. Hiccup smirks.
"It's not happening Smashley." Hadrian says.
"For you maybe," she retorts. "For me it's already begun."
Hadrian gives her a look of disturbance as he sets arranges screws from nails.
"So," Hiccup changes the subject. "how can we be of assistance?" Hiccup asks.
"I need this sword to be sharpened." She says as she hands over her sword, but just as Hiccup was about to grab it, she snatches it back and hustles to Hadrian. "Hadrian you're big and strong, why don't you do it."
Hadrian sighs as Smashley comes over handing him her broadsword. Hadrian looks to Hiccup and Hiccup only raises his arms up gesturing, 'You're on your own.' Hadrian looks back to Smashley and sighs, "Fine." he says.
He takes the sword and brings it the rotating stone. Placing the blade, sparks fly and glow against Hadrian's skin, haloing his hair and eyes. He hears Smashley sigh and he rolls his eyes yet smirks.
"So, how've you been?" she asks while resting her cheek in her hand.
"Been good." Hadrian answers.
"So, would you be interested in grabbing some mutton with me and working it off in my bedroom?" she smiles.
A crashing sound draws their attention and they find Hiccup fumbled with the box of nuts and bolts. He peeks over his shoulder for a brief moment before scoping them back into the box.
"So?" she asks with her best seductive smile.
"I'm sorry that thought just made me throw up in my mouth." Hadrian says as he brings the sword the front counter.
"I've got some mint leaves in my pocket if you want to reach down and fish them out."
"Well, time for Smashley to leave!" Hiccup chimes as he hands Smashley her sword and guides her out the door.
She turns around last minute. "Don't worry, we'll laugh about this on our honeymoon."
"Okay, bubye!" Hiccup say, slamming the shutters of the window. Turning he looks back to Hadrian. He raises his eyebrows.
"Don't look at me that way." Hadrian says. "Not my fault."
"And here we thought you'd have trouble making friends." Hiccup teases.
"I'd hardly call any of them friends." Hadrian says as he goes back to the box.
Gobber comes back and switches out his axe hand for his hook. "Boys, take over the shop. I'm heading out."
"Where?" Hiccup asks.
"A wild dragon wondered into the traps we set around the earth. Stoick wants me and Spitelout to free it." Gobber explains.
"Didn't you guys unset all those traps?" Hadrian asks as he leans against the counter.
"We thought we did, but as assumed, Ruffnut and Tuffnut 'missed' a couple."
"Ah." Both boys say in unison.
"So, I'll be back. Clean up when you leave." Gobber says, and then he turns and walks off to the forest.
Once he's out of hearing range, Hiccup turns to Hadrian. "When did he say that meeting with the Beserkers was?" Hadrian asks.
"It's supposed to be this weekend. They're going to visit Outcast Island to try and reassign our treaty." Hiccup advises. "Ever since Dagur took control of both Beserker and Outcast fleets, the risk of war is now more a concern."
When the dragons were revealed to Dagur, he seemed to handle it well. But after Dagur saw Hadrian and Hiccup on a visit, something in him snapped, and he pounced on Hadrian, throwing punches and swings like a madman. Apparently Dagur had withheld a grudge against Hadrian from when he invaded the Beserker Island, and when he saw he saw Hadrian, the emotions flooded forth.
Later, he had made a not-so-firm allegiance with the Outcasts to invade and take Hadrian prisoner. Both men wanting to torture the boy in their own means. But Hiccup wouldn't let them. Dagur warned him, but when Hiccup stood firm on Hadrian's side, the allegiance was broken. Now, Dagur was the leader of both fleets and was determined to incapacitate Hadrian.
Feeling at fault, Hadrian offered to leave, but Hiccup assured him, Dagur was never the most, stable of leaders. He knew that from a young age.
A knock at the front draws their attention. "Hello?" Astrid calls.
"Hey Astrid." Hadrian greets.
"Hello ma' lady." Hiccup welcomes with a kiss on her cheek.
"I brought you guys those Bear Claws you like." She smiles.
"Oh, Bear claws." Hadrian says as he walks over, reaches into the bag and pulls out the sweet tasting delicacy.
"Thanks Astrid." Hiccup says.
"No problem. Oh and don't forget, we're meeting at the Academy to practice battle positions." She reminds.
"Got it." Then she smiles and pivots on her heels and walks out. "So, Hadrian," Hiccup said changing the subject. "have you thought more about our conversation?"
Hadrian rolls his eyes, "Hiccup, we've had this discussion before."
"And we're having it again." Hiccup chippers as he hops up on the counter next to Hadrian. "Come on Hadrian."
"Hiccup, I don't need a dragon. I'm fine. You don't hear me complaining." Hadrian says as pops the Bear Claw in his mouth and bringing the box to another shelf. He sets it aside and leans against the front of the shop. "Besides, to me, it only seems like another mouth I need to feed. And with your dragon alone making me lose more weight than any diet, I'll be dead in a month."
"Just try and look at the positives." Hiccup wraps an arm around Hadrian's shoulder and leads him outside. "I mean, flying through the sky. The wind in your hair."
"Bugs in my teeth." Hadrian chimes.
Hiccup's lips flatten in a tight line. "The amazing view."
"My possible fear of heights." Hiccup looks to him, eyes wide. "I don't have one I'm just saying it's a possibility."
Hadrian shrugs him off and starts walking home. Hiccup catches up and levels with his walking. "Okay, you like things blunt. How about this, it'll make it easier for you to roam around the island. Faster trips, better at loading haul, gets your chores done faster, help you escape the raging sea of hormones."
Hadrian rolls his eyes.
"Aw come on. Think about it. It's the perfect excuse to get away from the girls." Hiccup persuades. ""Hey Hadrian how're you doing?" "I can't talk now I've got to get home to my dragon, he's every sick."" Hiccup impersonates, drawing a smile from Hadrian.
"First of all, I don't sound like that. And two, why are you even so interested in giving me a dragon anyway?" Hadrian asks.
"Well I figured if I can get my own father, to ride a dragon, then I assumed you'd be easier. Believe me, he was the exact same as you." Hiccup says. "And it'll give us something to do."
"Yeah, but still. I just don't think I need a dragon now." Hadrian dismisses. "I'll admit you got me on the escape thing, but I'm fine walking and loading things on my own."
Hiccup catches up to him again, "Look Hadrian, I know you better than you know yourself, so I know you'd love riding a dragon."
"You do not know me better than I know myself." Hadrian retorts.
"I knew you were really good before you did." Hiccup says.
"I knew I was good, I was just trying not to be."
"And I knew that."
"Uh because I gave you hints."
"Mm, no actually I figured it out. In the dream." Hiccup reminds.
"Which irrational because you were in the dreamworld, and had only known me for six hours."
"Which was five hours longer than I needed, to know you were really good inside. I mean no doubt you gave me the scare and stuff, but you were originally part of me. You were good all along, you just fell into the wrong crowd."
Hadrian laughs lightly as she turns and walks on.
"Where you off to?" Hiccup asks.
"I've got to get back. I'm trading some game in the Square later today." Hadrian says pointing a thumb over his shoulder.
Hiccup sighs, admitting defeat. "Alright, but you know where I'll be."
"Noted." Hadrian calls as he continues on.
At the Academy, the teens were working on striking multiple enemies during an attack. While Hiccup and Snotlout and Fishlegs would attack from above, the others would defend off the forward forces. Hiccup performed his barrel roll and blasted three targets in seconds. Fishlegs advanced forward and catapults unleashed a few boulders. Meatlug caught them and spewed them back with a fiery lava coating. Astrid swings her axe at several targets, prying it loose and forward-rolling and throwing it at another.
At the end of the challenge, the boys land their dragons. "Alright, good job everyone." Hiccup says with a clap of his hands.
"Hey everyone I'm walking in!" Grandmamma calls. She walks into the Academy, wearing a new tunic and pants under a wool vest.
Grandmamma is Heather's grandmother who helped Hiccup fight off Hadrian, back when he was enemies with them, and later helped Hiccup discover and harness his abilities as the first male Valkyrie.
Now, she's nosily inserting herself into Hiccup's life more, now that Hadrian's alive and living with him.
"Hey Grandmamma." The kids greet.
"Hello children. Hi Hiccup. The door was open." She points.
"Thanks for the update, so what are you doing now walking towards me?" Hiccup smirks.
"And look at how he talks to me." She snaps back. Kissing his cheek, hiccup notices she's carrying a burlap bag. "Here, I brought you and Hadrian some food."
"Oh good, now we won't have to go hunting." Hiccup remarks sarcastically.
"I'm just trying to keep your painfully thin brother alive."
"I feed him, Grandmamma. And he's not my brother, I've told you this."
"But you two get along so well." She says.
"I know, but to remind you, we're one of the same person. Look I really appreciate the judgmental food buying, I - I do, especially the grain oats, which turn snacking into a painful challenge. But this whole Hadrian things, I'm handling it." Hiccup says as she drop the food back into her bag. "The problem I do have is finding him a dragon."
"Hadrian wants a dragon?" Fishlegs asks a little excited.
"No, but I'm on the verge of convincing him to get one." Hiccup says as he leans against Toothless. "He just won't ride one and I don't know why."
"Don't worry Hiccup," Astrid says. "If you can get your dad to ride a dragon, I'm sure Hadrian's no challenge."
"That's what you think. He's as stubborn as me. He says since he doesn't need one he won't get one." Hiccup says.
"Have you told him the benefits of having a dragon?" asks Grandmamma.
"I tried to tell him, but he won't let it into his thick, stubborn skull."
"Maybe you need to show Hadrian the benefits of having a dragon." Suggests Fishlegs.
Hiccup perks up at the suggestion. "Go on, Fishlegs."
"Remember how you showed Astrid and your father the ride over the island. And then they opened up more to their benefits? Maybe it'll be the same for Hadrian."
"Maybe." Hiccup ponders. Suddenly his head jerks up and he smiles. "Fishlegs, you're a genius!"
"Tell me something I don't know."