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You'll Get Used to It - TDIT's first HTTYD one-shot

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You'll Get Used to It - TDIT's first HTTYD one-shot

Postby thedriveintheatre » Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:50 pm

You'll Get Used to It
by thedriveintheatre

“Dragons and Vikings is such a simple game, even a Gronckle can understand,” Snotloud said with a smirk on his face.

The boy was shorter than the peers of his age, but he made up for it with his toughness and propensity for violence. He was surrounded by a group of kids in the field where they usually gathered to play every morning. All their attention were on him as he explained the rules of the game they were playing to Hiccup, a small and scrawny kid with a bowl of brown hair on his head. Snotloud envied Hiccup, who was the son of the village chief, and took every opportunity to mercilessly bully the boy. This time however, he was eager to show off his knowledge. He wiped his pug-nose before continuing. “One of us plays the Dragon. He - ”

Astrid and Ruffnut, the only girls in the group, coughed at once.

“...or she, is armed with a slingshot and stones, which can be fired in long-range like a dragon's flame.” Snotloud demonstrated this by shooting a pebble at Fishlegs, Hiccup's chubby and somewhat nerdy friend, who reacted by squeaking in pain.

“The rest of us play the Humans, who have to try to 'kill' the Dragon by tagging it. Any kid that the Dragon kills is out of the game. The Dragon wins when all the Humans are killed, and gets to pick the next Dragon. Same goes for the Human who manages to kill the Dragon.”

Hiccup didn't think Snotloud could've said the word 'Kill' so many times in so few sentences. Before he realised it, he blurted out his question: “Why do the Humans have to kill the Dragon? Can't they tame it instead?”

Snotloud gave Hiccup a withering look. “Cos' the Dragon killed the Humans first, stupid. That's what grown-ups do in real-life, too. What, you think you can just walk up to a dragon and invite it for tea?”

Tuffnut, a boy with long, blonde hair snickered. “Yeah, real Viking men smash their skulls and have 'em for breakfast!” His twin sister, Ruffnut, and her best friend Astrid collectively rolled their eyes at this statement.

Hiccup winced. All this male bravado and bragging about slaying dragons frankly made him queasy. Granted, he was only seven years old, as were most of his peers in the group, give or take one or two years. But Vikings males from a young age were trained, even expected, to be fearless. Sometimes, he thought, to the point of foolhardiness.

“I still don't see why we can't tame them, like our sheeps or goats,” he stubbornly protested.

Astrid groaned. “It's just a game, Hiccup. It's like how we play Hooligans and Burglars, only with one strong player against many, instead of two equal teams.”

“But why does it have to be one dragon fighting against many humans?”

“He's got a point, you know. It's not an accurate reflection of actual fighting conditions,” Fishlegs piped up, while examining the bruise on his arm.

Snotloud spat and looked crossly at Hiccup. “Look, Useless...” 'Useless' was one of his favourite names to address Hiccup. “You either go along with the rules or leave. There's no room for cowards in this gang.” Then he walked away, slingshotting a passing squirrel.

“Hurr, hurr. Next thing you know, he'll be saying we can train horses. Or pigeons!” Ruffnut's voice echoed in the chilly morning air as the rest of the group followed Snotloud. Fishlegs stopped for a moment and turned to Hiccup.

“I can join you to hunt for trolls, if you don't wanna play,” he offered.

“Nah, I'll be fine, Fishlegs. You go have fun, I'll just... walk around.”

And so Hiccup found himself trudging through the forest behind his village, munching on a cod sandwich he packed into his satchel as a snack. The air was thick with humidity, the heavy rain clouds creeping overhead. It's been raining for the past few days, and today's weather wasn't going to be any different.

He mindlessly kicked a stone. “It's a stupid game, anyway,” he said to no one in particular.

A yelp sounded from the bushes where the stone landed. Hiccup stopped and stood still. It's probably a mouse or small critter that he hit. Then he heard a low hissing noise, before a thin ring of smoke began to rise from the shrubs. Curious, he tentatively stepped forward to investigate.

The hissing sound continued as he parted the leaves. A fierce pair of eyes, like two glowing orbs, shone brightly from the undergrowth.

“Hey little guy,” he said soothingly. “It's okay, I won't hurt you,”

Cautiously, a tiny dragon, the size of a cat, slinked into view. The creature had two twisted horns on the sides of its bulbous head, which was precariously balanced on a skinny lizard-like body with spiny scales running down its back, emerald green scales glinting in the sunlight. It snorted another smoke ring out of its enormous nostrils, before calmly opening its comically-huge jaw in an impressive yawn, revealing tender, pink gums.

Hiccup was face-to-face with a Terrible Terror, one of the smallest but most feared dragons on Berk. On its own, it's relatively harmless, and barely registers as a minor nuisance. But like bees or ants, it's dangerous in larger numbers. In swarms, even a trained Viking wouldn't stand a chance, and some have even lifted sheep and other livestock into the sky. But Hiccup didn't know about this little dragon's fearsome reputation, and it, too, was young and naive about how humans commonly react to its kind. Perhaps it was both Hiccup's ignorance that led him to gently coax the Terror into the open with the rest of his sandwich, and the Terror's, that made it unafraid to take the bait.

“Come on little guy,” he whispered. He sat down as the curious reptile crawled onto his knee and snatched the sandwich from his hand, devouring it in one gulp. It gave Hiccup a goofy grin and crept up his torso and onto his shoulder, whereupon it sat like a parrot. Then, before Hiccup could react, it flicked its forked tongue out and tickled Hiccup's ear.

“Stop it, it tickles,” giggled Hiccup. The Terror curled into a fetal position and nuzzled its head against Hiccup's neck. Carefully, as if he was carrying a baby, Hiccup lowered the docile creature into his satchel and walked back to the field. He couldn't wait to show his friends this tiny and strangely tame dragon.

“It looks ugly,” Astrid said dismissively, wrinkling her nose.

“I think it looks cute,” Ruffnut cooed as she squatted close to the ground to tickle the Terror under the chin. The little dragon's eyes closed in pleasure as it purred softly.

A stone whizzed by and the Terror ducked just in time. The group turned to see Snotloud whistling while trying to hide the slingshot behind his back. “What?” he asked innocently.

“You're a jerk, Snotloud,” said Hiccup as he retrieved the Terror, who had its eyes narrowed at Snotloud and was hissing threateningly.

“Look Useless, they're vermins. They steal our food, they wreck our houses... every night that they attack our village, I have to take shelter under the bed while the grown-ups risk their lives to defend us.” He took out a tiny pocket knife and whittled a stick idly. “My dad goes dragon-hunting on weekends. Noble sport, worthy of only the most honourable and greatest Vikings,” he said, stealing a glance at Hiccup to see his reaction. “I just can't wait for the day till I'm old enough so that I can teach those brutes not to mess with us.”

He suddenly dropped the stick and approached Hiccup, tossing the shiny blade back and forth between his hands. “And it starts with this little rat.”

“You leave it alone,” Hiccup said softly, clutching the restless Terror closer to him as he started backing away.

It would have ended in a nasty brawl between Hiccup and Snotloud if Astrid didn't step in between them.

“Back off, Snotloud. Nobody, dragon or human, gets hurt today.” She turned to Hiccup. “Hiccup, you're going to take this... thing... back where you found it and leave it there.”


Astrid glared at him and Hiccup immediately fell silent. Snotloud calmly slipped the knife back into his vest and spread his palms. “You may have rescued this miserable pest today, but you can't save em' all the time.”

On a hill overlooking the small group of kids, Gobber the Belch, the Dragon Training teacher, leaned against a tree, quietly observing. He watched Hiccup trying to calm the Terror as he walked away from the gang back to the house he lived in with his father and Chief of the Hooligan tribe, Stoick the Vast. Then, he proceeded to bend over to scratch a non-existent itch on his left wooden peg leg before breaking wind loudly.

Hiccup carefully cut his lamb steak into mouth-sized pieces. His dad, an enormous, hairy behemoth of a man, sat opposite him, noisily tearing the tough meat with his teeth before washing it down with a bowl of watered-down cabbage soup that smelt like unwashed socks.

After emitting a huge burp, he moved on to butter a slice of moldy bread. “So Hiccup, how did your day go?”

Hiccup finished chewing before answering. “Okay, I guess. Snotloud taught me how to play Dragons and Vikings.” It was the truth, after all.

“Good, good.” Stoick slapped a piece of mackerel on the bread and wiped more butter on the scales.

“And I found something, dad.” Hiccup got down from his chair and ran to his bedroom. He hadn't taken Astrid's advice and had brought the Terror home instead. He found it sleeping underneath his bed where he left it and gently lifted it by its belly. It roused slowly and rubbed the side of its head against Hiccup's chest. Carefully carrying the young dragon as he would a kitten with its bottom resting in the crook of his arm, he walked back into the dining room.

“I caught a dragon!” he said proudly, as he held out the Terror by the armpits. Stoick had the finished sandwich halfway to his gaping jaw when he instantly freezed upon seeing the Terror. The mackerel slopped out from the sandwich and landed with a resounding thwack on the table.

“It's small and harmless, really,” Hiccup continued. He was beginning to feel uncomfortable with his dad's reaction. He knew Stoick attacked larger dragons while defending the village during the reptiles' raids, but surely this one was hardly fatal.

Stoick slowly got up from his seat, eyes fixed on the creature in Hiccup's outstretched hands. He picked up an empty iron cage he sometimes used to keep pigeons which they had for Sunday roast. “Hiccup, I want you to place the Terror in here, slowly.”

“Don't worry, dad. He doesn't bi-”

“I SAID PUT HIM IN THE CAGE!” roared Stoick. Hiccup was taken aback, but followed his dad's instructions and dropped the Terror into the bird cage.

Stoick quickly slammed the cage door and fastened the catch. The Terror became agitated and made a hissing noise while its tiny body began to swell.

“Get back!” yelled Stoick. Hiccup managed to take cover beneath the table before the Terror unleashed a bright yellow ball of flame from its mouth. The fireball flew from the cage like a missile, melting a few of the iron bars as it passed through, before ricocheting off the wall and shattering a plate on the fireplace mantle.

Stoick swiftly headed for the kitchen, the cage swinging in his massive arms. Hiccup followed desperately in his wake, stepping over the broken plate pieces on the floor. “Dad? Where are you going?” he asked timidly.

Stoick ignored Hiccup's question and kicked the back door of the house open, spilling moonlight into the room. He walked into the backyard and set the cage down on the ground. Hiccup stumbled over the threshold and stood nervously in front of the doorway. The full moon hung in the sky, bathing the island of Berk in its rays and illuminating the scene with a macabre light. A sharp hatchet that Stoick used to cut wood glinted menacingly as it lay buried in a tree stump. For a terrifying moment, Hiccup thought Stoick was going to use it to chop the Terror to pieces, but Stoick did not notice it, bustling back into the house instead.

Hiccup knelt down in front of the Terror, who gazed at him with its huge, saucer-shaped eyes. “Don't mind him, he's probably just scared of you. He'll probably release you, though I will miss your company.” The Terror replied by licking his ear again and Hiccup smiled.

He heard Stoick's footsteps approaching and turned to address him. “Dad, I think you frightened it...”

Hiccup's voice died in his throat. His dad was holding the cauldron which held their leftover cabbage soup, with a towel in each of his massive hands. Steam wafted from the boiling liquid, still hot from the flames.

Without a word, Stoick brushed Hiccup aside- and, lifting the cauldron high over the cage, tipped the contents over the little dragon. Hiccup watched in horror as the poor creature squealed in pain, the scorching liquid cooking it alive.

“No!” cried Hiccup and tried to push his dad aside, but he didn't budge. He just kept pouring the steaming soup calmly, as if he was watering the plants, while the Terror writhed in agony, desperately trying to claw its way out. It finally stopped moving long before the cauldron emptied, but Stoick didn't let up until the last drop.

Hiccup felt his stomach turn and his eyes filled with tears. “Why did you do that, dad? Why?”

Stoick dropped the cauldron and without looking at Hiccup, opened the cage, grabbed the tiny body with one giant hand, and tossed it unceremoniously into the grasses. Then he spoke softly, “Don't ever bring a dragon back here again. Do you understand, Hiccup?”

“But it didn't do anything to hurt you. It was only defending itself when you trapped it in the cage.” Hiccup's teeth clenched in anger as tears leaked from his eyes.

Stoick grabbed Hiccup by the shoulders and looked him in the eyes. Hiccup had never seen such fear reflected in his dad's eyes before. “That dragon could've killed you, son. Don't you know how dangerous Terrible Terrors are, especially if they call their flock to their aid? You won't last a second. You might think they're cute and cuddly, but they're evil creatures, Hiccup.”

Hiccup stared at the corpse of the Terror, which had only licked his cheek affectionately moments ago. Something squeezed his heart, and he looked at his father with dark eyes. “I hate you.”

Stoick was taken aback, but only for a second. Then his face turned purple with rage and he responded the way he always did whenever his authority was challenged - by shouting. “YOU WILL DO WHAT I SAY, HICCUP! IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!”

Gobber, who had been passing by with an armful of firewood, had watched the whole scene unfold from the moment Stoick threw the back door open. He now approached them to calm Stoick down. “Now, now, Stoick, the poor boy doesn't understand the dangers. He's only seven years old, he'll realise when he's older.”

“BUT HE-” Stoick stopped, realising he was addressing his closest friend, and lowered his voice. “But he needs to learn now. Next thing you know, he'll be bringing back Monstrous Nightmares!”

“I'm sure he'll be returning with their severed heads and claws in due time, Stoick,” Gobber said, gently leading Stoick back into the house.

Stoick stopped at the door and said, “I want you to be in bed in fifteen minutes, Hiccup.”

As soon as Hiccup heard the door close, he rushed over to the spot where he saw Stoick throw the dragon and parted the long grasses. The Terror's lifeless body was bright red in colour, its scales covered in ugly blisters from the scalding. Hiccup choked back a sob and tenderly lifted the small body, cradling it in his arms.

He found a bare patch under a fir tree that grew a short distance away from his house and began digging a shallow hole with his hands. He had seen warriors from his tribe being cremated on funeral pyres and considered performing a similar ceremony for the Terrible Terror. But that would take too long and draw too much attention from his already furious dad, so he decided to give it a less elaborate ceremony and bury it like he had seen the adults do with dead livestock.

“Goodbye, little guy,” he whispered, as he patted the mound of the Terrible Terror's simple grave. A shadow stole across Hiccup and without turning, he knew who it was.

“Looks like I underestimated you,” Snotloud said with his lips curled in a sneer. “You managed to get that little rat killed without laying a finger on it. I saw it all, how your dad poached it like a pigeon. Bet that would beat Sunday roast!” He laughed at his own joke and kicked Hiccup in the back. “Don't waste your time, Useless. The only good dragon is a dead dragon.”

Hiccup didn't say a word. He calmly got up and dried his eyes with his sleeve. Then he pulled his fist back and swung it right between Snotloud's eyes, breaking his blunt nose. He left the boy groaning wordlessly on his back, blood streaming out of his nostrils onto the bare patch of grass.

“For now, I think you need to teach him when he's more receptive. Letting him learn by himself also helps a bit. Supervised self-education, that's what me dad used to say...”

“I just wish he wasn't so... squeamish. Why can't he just be a man and just... kill... things?”

“He's only seven years old, Stoick.”

“I was already swatting Terrors when I was five.”

Hiccup lay with his ear to the ground, listening to Gobber and his dad talking downstairs. The wooden floors of the house happened to be made of a special kind of timber which transmitted any sounds from below, perfect for eavesdropping. Stoick had lived in this house before Hiccup was born, as was his ancestors before him, so he probably knew about this. But sometimes it would slip his mind, and Hiccup would be able to listen in on conversations he probably shouldn't be hearing.

He felt a chilly draft as the door opened and closed, followed by his father's heavy footfalls climbing the stairs. He leapt back into his bed just as the door opened. Stoick quietly entered the room, ducking his head to avoid hitting it on the low doorframe. Hiccup turned his back on his dad's immense figure and stared at the wall. He heard a chair being drawn to the side of his bed and the seat groaning noisily under his father's heavy weight.

“Hiccup, are you awake?”

Hiccup grunted in reply. He was still mad about Stoick's outburst and his killing of the Terror, especially in such a cruel manner.

He heard his dad sigh deeply. “Look, Hiccup... I'm sorry about just now. I... lost my temper, and I shouldn't have.” There was a pause, and Hiccup could hear the wind whistle through the ceiling beams overhead. He could tell his dad was pondering what to say. Stoick didn't apologise very often.

The words suddenly came tumbling out. “I just want you to be safe. Believe me, dragons are dangerous and not to be trusted! They will slice, burn, and eat you alive any chance they get. You're young now, and you won't understand. When you grow up, Hiccup, I will teach you about the concept of preemptive strikes. You have to fight the enemy before he attacks you. Viking tribes do this all the time.”

Stoick coughed, and then he continued. “I haven't told you how your mother died, have I?” Hiccup's heart suddenly started beating fast. He had never heard how his mother had passed away, only knowing that she did so when he was barely an infant.

“Your mother Valhallarama, Thor bless her strong heart and magnificent breasts, was a fine warrior. She worked hard to defend this village against those vile creatures... excellent at swordfighting too, I might add. I remember once, she decapitated three Deadly Nadders in one blow!”

He couldn't see his dad, but he felt him stand up and swing his muscular sword-arm as if he were lopping the dragons' heads off himself, before wearily sit back on the chair. Again, a long silence stretched between the father and son.

“She was killed by one of them. Turned out that Nadder was blind in one eye and she wasn't standing in its blind spot.” His dad's voice turned dark with a hard edge to it. “I vowed that I'd destroy every single one of those infernal devils, even if it takes my life. And that's what you'll have to do when you grow up, Hiccup. You're going to have to look one in the eye like a man, and not back out when you plunge your blade into its beating heart.”

Hiccup shuddered at the thought. He couldn't imagine himself doing such an act, even as a grown-up. Suddenly, he felt his dad's hand on his shoulder.

“But all that will be in due time, son. You'll get used to it.” The chair scrapped back and he heard his dad lumbering towards the door.

“Hiccup, I...” Stoick's voice trailed off, as if he was holding back what he intended to say next. “I'll... see you tomorrow,” he finally said, before closing the door.

Hiccup turned to look out of the stained glass window on the adjacent wall. He could see the lone fir tree shining in the moonlight, where the Terror now lay in its eternal underground rest. Snotloud had already gone home, probably to complain to his own dad about how Hiccup had socked him for no reason. That night, Hiccup wept himself to sleep, Stoick listening to his son's sobs through the timbers above as he nursed his flagon of stale beer.

Hiccup will not remember this day, even when he eventually became the Village Chief of Berk and Legendary Viking Hero of the Hooligan Seas. Although, it did plant the seed of doubt about his father's approach to handling dragons, which led to his pacifist approach in later years. He would not remember this day, until his granddaughter ran to him one sunny afternoon, and complained in disgust that a Terrible Terror licked her on the cheek. Then he would pick her up, sit her on his knee, and give a knowing smile.

“You'll get used to it,” he would simply reply.



And so TDIT has written his first HTTYD one-shot fanfic! :) I actually had another in mind involving Hiccup and Astrid, but I never got round to writing it.

Then about a few days ago, I read little_chef's fanfiction 'Disappointments'. Her mention of a children's game she invented named 'Dragons and Vikings', and how Hiccup came to change the rules when he became an adult, inspired me to explore the idea of how Hiccup was influenced to his pacifist stance that was evident at the start of the movie.

What Stoick did to the Terror was based on an actual childhood event of mine. My dad caught a rat that has been hiding in our house with a wire cage trap. He called my siblings and I to watch, and, taking a kettle of boiling water, scalded the poor fellow alive. Naturally, being the ten year old I was at the time, I was traumatised as a result, and the 'boiling of the rat' remains an indelible experience in my mind. :-(

Thanks for reading this story. If you liked it, let me know. If you didn't, do provide constructive criticism.
TDIT wishes all Planeteers a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
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