"Hiccup?" The voice was unfamiliar, yet strangely comforting. He was still in the dark, but could hear the voice in his prison. "Hiccup!"
Hiccup moved his arms, expecting to be trapped, but he found, with a little effort, he could break free. He stretched his arms and legs, a cracking sound echoing all around him as he moved. Then he craned his head up and blinked his eyes open.
It was sunset, and he was on the beach of the island they had explored. Scattered egg shells laid in an circle around him.
"Oh wow, I must have blacked out." He scrunched his face up as a dull ache pounded in his head.
"Hiccup! I'm so glad you're okay!"
"Huh?" The boy sat up at the voice and looked around, but found only Toothless, staring at him with his tongue lolling to the side. "Who's there?"
"It's just me and you," The voice spoke again.
Hiccup peered at his companion. "Toothless?"
The dragon became much more reserved then. "So you can hear me."
Hiccup's mouth fell open. "Y-yes! Yes, bud! I can—…this is amazing! How did—? What—?!" At that moment, he caught a glimpse of his hands. His fingernails were black and his skin was unusually pale. He felt his face, where the faintest of scales traced the edge of his jaw and cheeks. Then, he realized he felt grass under his foot. His left foot. He looked down and his breath left him. Where his peg leg used to be, was a brand new foot, but not like his other. It was black and scaled, three large toes with long claws stretched like fingers, while a fourth toe, much like a thumb, grew from the side. He wiggled them in curiosity, if not shock and awe.
"Hiccup," the dragon whined.
Hiccup panted. "W-what happened to me? Why is this—?" Hiccup didn't like it when he didn't have answers. It made him feel like he was ignorant.
"I tried to warn you," Toothless warbled, wrapping himself around his rider, "but you're so curious. That egg that you stepped in, it belonged to a dragon."
"But I don't understand why I can understand you…"
"The egg can't hatch without a host. That's why the shell was so soft. It's using your body as a vessel."
Hiccup went back to examining his foot. "So…it's a parasite?"
"Yes." Toothless nuzzled his rider. "The dragon slowly takes control over the body so it can grow."
Hiccup frowned and then looked Toothless in the eyes. "I'm turning into a dragon then, aren't I?"
Toothless just whined again and laid his head down on the grass.
"I'm sorry bud. You did warn me, and I didn't listen. It's not your fault though."
The Nightfury flicked his gaze up, but then looked out to sea. "I'd do anything for you, Hiccup."
The teen sighed and rubbed the dragon's head. "And I would do anything for you too, Toothless." He followed his gaze out to the horizon. "How much time do I have left?"
"I don't know. Maybe a month?"
Hiccup buried his head in his hands. "What am I going to tell everyone? What will I tell Astrid? What will I tell…my dad? He's going to be so disappointed." He sighed. "I sure let him down this time."
"Hiccup…it was an accident. I'm sure you're father will understand."
"Stoick the Vast is just supposed to accept the fact that his son is turning into a dragon? Like that's something normal?"
"At least I still have you, bud," He cried.
"It will be okay, Hiccup. I'll help you!"
the boy smiled, forlorn. "It's getting late. We should get back."
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah…I need to find out the extent of what…is wrong with me."
"Okay, I'll answer your questions there, as many as I can." Toothless nuzzled his stomach.
Hiccup stood up on his new foot, testing it out, feeling the ground solidly underneath it. It was bizarre and disarming. There was a brief joy of the fact that his leg was back. But at the same time, it was alien. This foot didn't belong to him. Without another word, Hiccup mounted his friend and flew off.
The sun had set on Berk, the sky had a dark purple hue to it. The stars beginning to glow. The moon was full. Hiccup aimed Toothless to drop through the skylight to his house. Inside, he bolted the door and shut the windows.
Having his father as the chief, the Haddocks were one of the few homes that had the luxury of a looking glass. Hiccup went to the washtub and peered at his reflection in the candle light. His eyes almost seemed wider, as the green overtook the white of his eyes. His pupils had stretched vertically, becoming a thin line. Black scales replaced his freckles, while his lower eyelid was tinted a deep purple. His canine teeth grew in length and resembled fangs. Hiccup ran his hands through his hair and felt bumps on his scalp. He groaned.
"This is a nightmare."
"What's wrong with being a Dragon?" Toothless asked.
"Oh, Toothless, in any other situation, I'd love to be a dragon. But I have responsibilities. The village can't have a dragon as a chief. Astrid can't marry a dragon…"
Toothless whined in understanding.
Hiccup rubbed his neck and felt very thin flaps like gills. "Is the parasite an aquatic dragon?"
"No," Toothless answered. When he spoke, Hiccup felt the flaps buzz. "Those aren't gills, those are your sense ears."
Toothless shook the two earflaps on his head. "These are my ears. They pick up sounds, like you talking, crickets and birds." Then he vibrated the flaps around his chin. "These are my sense ears. All dragons have these, and that's how we communicate with each other. We croon."
"Oh!" Hiccup snapped his fingers. "I get it! It's like…like you pick up vibrations in the air and hear them as sounds, like how we hear talking!"
Toothless looked at him in confusion. "Um…yes." He assumed something was lost in translation, but as long as his human understood, he didn't care.
"So, am I talking through them right now?"
"No, you're talking human."
"Then how can you understand me?"
Toothless almost looked haughty. "I'm bright, Hiccup. I've learned to understand you. Most of the dragons have."
"Well!" Hiccup rolled his eyes. He smiled faintly, it was weird being able to talk with Toothless, instead of just at him. But he sounded like he thought he would.
"Someday you'll be able to croon. You'll learn."
"I'll have to," Hiccup stated solemnly.
Toothless huffed. He hated seeing his friend so upset, and tried to look at the positives. It was becoming difficult.
"I want to try and hide this for as long as I can." Hiccup confessed. "I don't want to worry others."
Hiccup knew his father would be coming home soon, and he retreated to his room.
"You're not going to be able to hide everything with your skins," Toothless stated.
"These," the dragon tugged on his shirt.
"Oh. I might be able to get away with somethings…" Hiccup pulled out an old boot from when he still had his foot, and slipped it over the dragon's foot. It was tight, but it would work. Then he took some rope and wrapped it around it. "There, I'll say…that I'm growing and I needed my support for my leg."
"What about your eyes?"
"Um…" He glanced around his room, in thought. Then he remembered something his father got from Johan. He went downstairs, and then returned with a pair of dark eye glasses on.
"What are those?" Toothless snorted in curiosity.
"These are eye lenses made from smokey quartz from Serica." He adjusted them on his nose. "Can you see my eyes?"
The dragon came closer. "Sort of, but I have better I sight then humans."
"What about your scales?"
"Easy!" the boy explained. He felt his face and picked at the hard surface with his nails.
"Oh don't do that!" Toothless whimpered.
The dragon huffed and growled. "It bothers me."
The teen rolled his eyes. "Fine, I think I have some paint around here."
The front door opened and Hiccup heard a loud sigh. "Hiccup, I'm home. You here?" Stoick called.
He heard the steps creek.
"Don't come up! I'm-I'm-I'm bathing!"
"In your room?"
"Uhh y-yeah, yes. I'm cleaning my clothes too, you know how dragon spit is."
"Oh, I see." The chief paused, scratching his beard. "Listen Hiccup. I…I'm sorry for yelling at you. You know how we are, hot headed…"
Something told him that Gobber was involved in this apology somehow.
"You've been making great strides in your training. And…I'm very proud of you."
"Thanks dad…" Hiccup spoke, staring at his underdeveloped claws.
"So…yes. That's what I wanted to say. Good talk. See you in the morning."
"Goodnight son." The stairs creaked as the large man retreated.
Toothless laid his head on his boys lap. He knew there was no words to help console him.