First Friends

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((Hey guys/gals. I came up with this after dreaming about being a kitten and clinging to a wharf during a storm. I had recently seen HTTYD, the first movie, and so I recognized the arm with the long-sleeved green shirt as it reached out for me and caught me. This is basically the continuation of that. It'll be in first-person, past-tense. It's from a male jaguar cub's perspective. I'm a woman, so this should be very interesting.))

I am Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third, and I'm sure all of you know my bud, Toothless. But did you know that Toothless wasn't my first pet? That's right! I had a jaguar before him, and he's sleeping over in that nest of furs in the corner there. His name, ironically, is Tiger, and this is his story.

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I kept paddling, the icy water biting me, and stealing my breath at the cold. I knew I had to make land, or I'd freeze to death. I glanced over my shoulder at the shipwreck, now sinking in the thrashing waves, taking my mother and siblings to into the briny deep. I growled to encourage myself, and pushed on. I saw a strange structure jutting out of the cliffs and swam toward it, thinking I could hold on to it and climb up to shelter. I was only three months old, so I was still easily mistaken for a kitten, but I was also not quite properly fattened up or prepared for this kind of journey so by the time I reached the thing I'd seen, I was too tired to do much more than cling to it. As the night wore on I heard several heavy boots stomp around above my head, and in desperation, I gave several strangled cries. Finally there was a lull in the storm and the head of a strange-looking creature appeared in my field of view. The creature smiled at me and reached out a leg toward me. I was too tired to fight, and my strength was waning. Suddenly my limbs went limp and I blacked out, expecting to wake up in the same grassy field that my family was in. Instead the strange creature, who I later learned was named Hiccup, picked me out of the ocean before I could drown, and hugged me close to his body. He ran up the wharf (the thing I'd clung on to), and burst through the door into his family's cave-like dwelling. I opened my eyes blearily as an enormous figure rose from his seat.

"Daddy! Daddy! Lookit what I found! Kin I keep him?!" Hiccup shrieked excitedly, bouncing around as though he were standing on hot coals.

"Hmm...He seems a little small and weak, son," rumbled the giant. "But if he survives the night, then you can keep him." Hiccup jumped up and yipped with delight as though he were one of my siblings. He ran up the ramp to his sleeping nook and grabbed a warm, dry rag and began to vigorously rub my fur, trying to dry me off. Feeling started to come back to my paws. I opened my eyes, rolled onto my stomach before looking down, and seeing the maddening drop beside me I quickly backpedalled wildly, trying to keep from falling.

"Aww! Daddy, look! He's waking up!" cried my savior. He sat down on the floor and crossed his legs, beckoning me over. I was so grateful I happily obliged, curling up in the nest he had made for me. He stroked my fur, and I jumped, digging my claws in from fear as the ground shook and trembled as the giant came bounding up the stairs. "I think I'm going to call you Tiger because you're a cat and a boy, so Tiger's a good name for you." I purred and nuzzled into the brown thing around his neck, savoring the warmth it provided. I knew I'd made a lifelong friend, so I promised myself to protect him, no matter what.

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Proud leader of The Outliers!

There will be a link below of HTTYD 2 put to the song Centuries (Fall Out Boys). It's a condensed version of the whole movie and worth the watch.

Events!

Big Update Scavenger Hunt. Hints dropped daily.

Speed Stinger Race Track Idea!

Use this link to share your support and feedback! Let's make it possible to race on Speed Stingers!

 

Check out my fan fics

-Big Challenges (Finished. Please Comment, and read the sequel as well!)

-A Hidden Life (Sequel to Big Challenges.)

-Last and First

-First Generation (Daughter of Hiccup and Astrid)

-Great Ocean Gems

-A World of Discoveries

-Being Me

-The Black Cowl (Also a roleplay. PM me if you wish to join.)

-Twice the Twins, Twice the Fun

-The Dragonsblood Curse (With special thanks to Scensoredearchers) 

-First Friends 

-Last Remnant

-A Different Angle (A Big Hero 6 fan fic)

-Living a Lie 

-Middle (A Big Hero 6 Fan Fic)

-Welcome to Our Family 

-April Heist (A Big Hero 6 Fan Fic. Graphic Description. Reader's Discretion Advised.)

-A Cyber Kitty Named Wisdom (A Big Hero 6 Fan Fic)

- Gobber's Daughter 

- Adventurous Appreciation

- Bond Between

Please comment and give feedback on them. I value your opinion.

I'm moving some of my fan fictions over to Wattpad. Here's a link to my profile.

Also, if you like reading fan fiction. Please join the Fan Fiction Club

I also have a blog for my fan fic character. Link is at the bottom of my signature (Only available to those living in the United States and Canada. Sorry.)

My favorite reads:

Toothless' Kingdom (Dragonmic14), http://forum.schoolofdragons.com/content/toothlesss-kingdom

Hiccup and Astrid: A Family at Last! (NightFuryLover)

 

Also, if you'd like an uncensored version of my fanfictions, here's the link to Bond Between on Wattpad

 

Link I promised about the condensed version of HTTYD 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJ8T2-p0W9s

If you see a hacker, you can report them here:

http://forum.schoolofdragons.com/content/sod-hack-watch-if-you-see-hacking-report-it-here

http://forum.schoolofdragons.com/content/sod-anti-hacking-team-open-all-forum-users

 

Spiker. (Whispering Death bouncie courtesy of Hattori!)

(Gronckle edits by Skypeoplephoenix.)

Here's a little side project I was almost finished. I just need to get the racing banners I recently lost due to a glitch back so I can complete it.

I recently created a blog for Nina, so if you're interested, here's the link: http://ninahaddocklife.blogspot.ca

Here are my adopted dragons.

Noche, from Smidvarg's Night Terrors. Thanks snowflake!

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Chapter 2

The next morning I woke up surrounded by warmth with a slight pressure from a small paw on my back. I looked around and saw the boy from yesterday, Hiccup, sleeping with the tip of one of his claws in his mouth. I purred softly and nuzzled him. I heard him give a small noise and he rolled over onto his back. I jumped down and stretched, preparing for a small hunting trip. Even if I brought back a rabbit, I'd bring Hiccup something, or at least something to please the giant. I nudged the door until it opened and I dashed into the bushes far away from the village. I paused at a clearing and sniffed. A herd of deer were grazing peacefully nearby, along with some rabbits. I crept around the small glade and selected a particularly fat rabbit. I got as close as I could to him, crouched, and charged, leaping high into the air and landing on his back. I bared my fangs and sank them into the back of his neck, shaking my head from side to side, snapping his neck. I gave a tiny roar of triumph and then picked up as much as I could in my mouth. My butt stuck up in the air, and I padded along on my front paws, perfectly balanced as I returned to the dwelling. I was just beginning to wonder how I was going to open the door when it opened and the giant stood before me. He took a step before looking down and spotting me. He knelt and took the rabbit from me and gave me an awkward scratch on the head before going down to the village. I decided to go check up on my young master and found him sitting up and rubbing his eyes sleepily. I mewled in greeting and his face lit up. I pounced onto his lap softly, sheathing my claws before rubbing against his face.

"What's this on your face, Tiger? Oh! Are you hurt?" he asked picking me up and looking me over before prying my jaws apart and peering down my throat. It was a very uncomfortable experience, but I allowed it. "If you're not hurt, where did that blood come from?"

"Heccup, that ther kitten o' yers is quite the li'l hunter. Brought down a fat rabbit this morn, judging by the warmth and the state of clottin'," said a new voice. I ducked under Hiccup's arm, shaking from fear before peeking out at the newcomer. Another giant, slightly smaller than Hiccup's father, with only one arm and one leg stood at the foot of the stairs.

"Hi, Gobber! This is Tiger," Hiccup chirped. "I found him in the water, clinging to the wharf. Poor thing was half frozen. Daddy-er, Dad said I could keep him if he survived, and he did!"

 

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Chapter 3

I mewed a hello to the one called Gobber, and Hiccup carried me down the stairs, holding me about the chest as if I were a toy. I thought it highly degrading, but I allowed it.

"Well, now. Lessee 'ere," mused Gobber. He began poking me with his fake paw and real one, lifting my nose to see inside it, and raising my lips to see my teeth. "'ave you fed 'im anethin?"

"No, I don't know what to feed him," Hiccup said sadly. I wiggled my butt until I was able to pull myself into a more comfortable position, and then jumped to the ground before dashing outside for a personal hunting trip. I caught a couple mice and a rat that was poking around the food stores, before returning to Hiccup and depositing my catches at his feet. I sat down and looked up at him with big adoring eyes. "Awwe! He caught some mice and a rat for himself! That's so cool!" He crouched and stroked my head lightly, coaxing a purr from me. He giggled, then I dipped my head, gulped down the mice, and took the rat somewhere private to eat.

"Ah-ah! Best to leave him to his meal, Heccup," Gobber advised. "He's a hunter now, and he'll not be wanting to be disturbed. He'll come find you when he's done."

"Awh, but I wanna play with him!" he whined. I finished the rat and tossed the bones off a nearby cliff before coming back from behind the bushes, licking my lips happily. "Tiger!"

"What's a Tiger?" someone else asked, about the same age as Hiccup. She had two blonde braids running down her back and was carrying a small axe.

"Hi, Astrid! This is Tiger, my kitten. He's a really good hunter; he even brought down a rabbit today," my young master beamed proudly. I purred and rubbed against his ankles, happy to be with him. He bent down and picked me up, cradling my tummy and front paws, making me feel safe and secure in his arms. I set to grooming myself, something I hadn't felt good enough to do since I arrived but felt up to now that I knew I was safe. I felt a hesitant pressure running along my back and looked at the girl who had come up. She pulled her hand back and looked at me, a nervous expression on her face. I was getting better at reading people's faces, and could tell this cub was unsure if I was friendly or not. I purred to let her know I wasn't going to hurt her, and she reached out a hand for me to smell. When she resumed petting me I continued grooming, running my tongue over my fur and removing the salt that still clung to my fur, making it dingy and paler than normal.

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Chapter 4

((Jumping ahead by five years. Hiccup is 10, Tiger is 5 and three months.))

Something moved in the bushes in front of me. I stalked forward, both light and heavy on my feet. This quarry was mine, and when Hiccup saw the size of it, he'd be so proud! I pounced, killing the squirrel with a bite to the head. It had mistaken me for a log or some such; it didn't matter, it was dead as the other prey I brought back to the village. I tossed the small body up onto the pile I'd gathered on a large wooden basket-like structure Stoick had commissioned for me. Hiccup had made a harness for me and I slipped into it, pulling with all my might as I headed back to the village. I dropped off my haul and jerked the harness until the clips came off, then decided to go searching for my young master, who was noticeably absent from the town.

I followed his scent when I caught it, intent on finding him soon, and stopped short when I heard a scream. Hiccup's scream. I broke into a full-on run as I charged toward where I heard the yells coming from. I burst through a bush and saw Hiccup backing away from a large, black bear, who was obviously very grumpy. I leapt in front of him, but was batted away quickly.

"Tiger! Ow! Help!" Hiccup wailed. I snorted and shook my head, rolling over onto my stomach and watching in horror as my young savior was snagged then thrown against a tree, where he lay dazed, and half conscious. I stood up, ignoring my now-twisted paw, and roared a challenge at the bear as he stalked toward my master's still body. He turned his head lazily, but otherwise ignored me. I coiled and struck, swiping a paw at him, claws unsheathed. He shrugged it off until I leapt in front of Hiccup, cutting off the bear's direct line of attack. I shrieked my challenge again, hoping at the least I'd draw someone from the village. It had been five years since Hiccup rescued me, and I was well-respected for my hunting skills. I found quarry everyone, including the dragons that raided the village at least once or twice a week, had missed.

"If you want my master, you're going to have to take him from under my cold, dead body," I snarled at the bear. I was so angry I wound up snorting in fury.

"That can be arranged," hissed the bear, chuckling wickedly.

I roared and lunged at him, charging my full weight at him, and sinking my teeth into the fur at his neck. His paws flailed about and scratched my right front paw, coaxing a slight whimper from me, but still I held fast. I growled from the effort and whipped him around, ripping his throat out as I did so. We fell to the ground with his throat gushing his life out as he died. He was dead in a matter of moments, but still Hiccup didn't wake up. I limped over to him, wincing in pain as my injury announced itself. I nudged him with my nose, not caring about the blood I was getting on his face. I wiggled underneath him, rearranging him until he was draped over me in such a fashion that I felt comfortable running through the forest as fast as my injured paw would allow. I turned toward the village and took off, letting loose another howl that drew several people's attention to the forest. I noticed a large cliff in front of us and narrowed my eyes in determination.

I pushed off with my back paws and we flew through the air, Hiccup only coming to briefly to say, "Whoa! Tiger, we're flying!" before blacking out again.

The wind was driven out of my lungs when someone caught me around the stomach, stopping both of us from crashing to the ground, as they spun around to carry over our momentum. I looked up into the chief's eyes. They were brimming with worry that I sometimes saw when Hiccup, his son, was out during a dragon raid. His face was an unmovable mask of hardness that I had learned to read. I blinked heavily, then darkness swallowed my vision.

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I think this is a cute idea.

I think this is a cute idea. -^.^- Does anyone else besides me wonder why we haven't seen any "non-dragon" pets around Berk--even before the dragons were tamed in the first movie?

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Blue Scuttleclaw (from HTTYD2) by Defy!

 

 

Borealis the Stormcutter adopted from ravism1313!

 

 

Valiant the Night Fury Blinkie by SoulStereo!

 

 

Valiant the Night Fury by arkeyla!

 

 

Valiant the Night Fury by NadderForever!

 

 

Valiant the Night Fury by ravism1313!

 

 

Valiant the Night Fury by ravism1313!

 

 

Splinter the Whispering Death by hattori!

 

 

Jasper the Monstrous Nightmare by hattori!

 

 

Saphira the Typhoomerang by hattori!

 

 

Dottie the Smothering Smokebreath by hattori!

 

 

Crush the Gronckle by Mariella!

 

 

Rocky the Gronckle by Mariella!

 

 

Dusty the Deadly Nadder bouncie by Rae Didgeridoo!

 

 

Dusty the Deadly Nadder bouncie by Scoubidous!

 

 

Dusty the Deadly Nadder in blockie style by LoyceeForEver!

 

 

Dusty the Deadly Nadder by Chocolate24!

 

(Thanks for the fun, guys! You're all awesome!)

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In the book Hiccup and his

In the book Hiccup and his family have a cat named Fiddlesticks. (I chuckle at that name.)

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Chapter 5

Hours later I woke up to someone pushing on me, shaking me in an attempt to rouse me. I sat up and curled a lip slightly until I saw that it was Hiccup. He was sitting up with bandages around his stomach where the bear had scratched him...The bear! I looked down at my paw just as he pulled me close and hugged me, giving me a kiss on the top of the head. I began to purr, purely out of instinct as he ran his fingers through my fur, calming both of us down and reinforcing our bond and friendship. Sure we played everyday, but that was just enrichment for both of us, not true bonding. The other children in the village often played with us as well, and through me Hiccup gained a few lifelong friends. Fishlegs frequently came over to visit, sometimes Astrid did too. Stoick and I could tell he liked her, so I teased him relentlessly when she was around. I'd crouch really low with big, hungry eyes and pounce on him, licking his face madly and giving him a wild new furdo. It usually made her giggle. Sometimes when no one was looking Snotlout would play with me too. He was a rather strange character as he was already shaping up to be a ginko ((made-up word meaning "Ladies' man")), and that fact was not lost on a couple girls their age, but they quickly lost interest when his "Higher-than-thou" attitude shone through.

"Thank you, Tiger. I saw how brave you were fighting off that bear," Hiccup murmured, holding me even closer. I nuzzled his face, savoring our closeness. By this time, my purring had increased in volume, and Stoick came up the stairs to check on us.

"Glad to see you're both up, and alright," he rumbled awkwardly. 

"Dad! Tiger fought off a bear for me," his son yipped excitedly.

"I know. The hunters in the area found the corpse. The meat will help feed the village," replied his father. "Thank you, Tiger." He cupped my chin and looked into my eyes. They were brimming with gratitude and seemed a little more damp than normal. My tongue flicked out and caught the tip of his nose, prompting a small smile from him.

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Chapter 6

I pushed myself up and tried to walk. I stopped when I heard a slight clink and looked down at my right paw. My heart sank, and I looked up with mournful eyes at Hiccup and Stoick. My young master gasped when he saw my missing paw.

"There was nothing we could do to save it, so we did what we thought was best other than," he paused, casting about for the appropriate word, "doing away with you."

I looked down again at my new metal paw, not much more than a peg with a flat metal pan and fake claws made of iron. Hiccup pulled me onto his lap before wincing and pushing me away. I watched him, temporarily forgetting my new appendage, and burbled in concern.

"I-I'll be okay, Tiger. I'm just sore," he gasped, clutching his belly where the bandages were quickly turning a very scary red. I nudged him down gently and wriggled under his head, making myself his pillow. I was big enough now, so he wasn't scared of hurting me. It took a bit of adjusting on my part to get used to the feel of the metal leg under my chin, but I recovered fairly quickly and gave him a quick lick on the forehead, grooming him and letting him know I was there. Then I laid my head down and fell asleep.

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Chapter 7

"'ello, Master 'iccup! 'oo's your friend 'ere?" a taller, lanky man who was speaking in a nearly unintelligible accent with a type of hat I later learned was called a "beanie-hat", and puffed up sleeves that would make a peacock proud was standing before us. His beard reached his chest, and draped across it easily.

Hiccup stuck his chest out, proud of me. "This is Tiger. He's my cat," he beamed, stroking my head with his fingers. I purred and rubbed against his legs appreciatively.

"Whot kind of cat is 'e?" Hiccup's friend asked.

"I don't know," my young master answered. "I found him in the water five years ago. He was clinging to that post, drenched to the bone. Dad said I could keep him if he lived, and here he is!"

"Hm...May I?" inquired my new acquantenance. He reached a hand out and I sniffed it, testing his scent. He smeled of the open ocean, drawing me, unwillingly, back to the day Hiccup saved my life. I recoiled, backpedalling wildly. I felt my legs fall off as I ran backwards off the dock and into the water. I floundered before sinking, flailing wildly to get back to the surface. Just as my vision flickered I heard and felt a big someone dive in. I looked up to see a massive shadow, then darkness enveloped me.

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Chapter 8

"Tiger! C'mon, Tiger! Don't die! Please!" Hiccup's voice called me through the fog that surrounded my brain. I struggled to surface but found I couldn't breathe. I began to panic until someone or something began pressing on my chest, forcing my lungs to work. I coughed roughly, spewing a fountain of water across the dock. I opened my eyes groggily as the fellow Hiccup had been talking to sat back on his heels, smiling with relief. My master gathered my chest and head in his arms, crying with happiness. "Oh, Tiger! I'm so happy you're alright!"

I burbled weakly and stuck my tongue out, trying to lick him and let him know I was alright. It wound up draped over his arm, and I focused on getting it up. It rose unsteadily and climbed higher until it caressed his cheek. Okay so it was more aling the lines of me sticking my tongue in his ear, but still... I pulled it in and made a face. The longer my lungs worked the stronger I felt, so I rolled onto my stomach, preparing myself to rise. I looked around and saw Stoick on his knees, gasping and drenched through. It didn't take long to realize he'd saved my life, and gratitude flooded my veins, chasing away the remaining fear. I lifted my belly, then my chest, rising fom the deck and staggering over to him. He put a hand on my head, which I licked in passing. He smiled at my, then at Hiccup when he joined us.

"Thank you, Dad," Hiccup said, his eyes shining with happiness. He crouched beside me, wrapping an arm around my sopping shoulders. I sneezed lightly and shook my fur, trying to dry it off. Those in the area yelped and jumped back, shielding their faces from the spray. I licked my lips afterwards, wrinkling my nose in disgust at the saltiness, and nuzzled Hiccup and Stoick, who rose and returned to his chiefing duties.

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Chapter 9

Hiccup and I trotted home, happy to be together. The fellow who had forced my lungs to work again Hiccup called Trader Johann, and he deemed me a jaguar (imagine that! A jaguar cub, just like my Mama told me when I was born!) and gave me a small fish he called a sardine for scaring me so bad.

"I'm glad you're alright, Tiger," Hiccup said to me as we walked. He bent over while walking and wobbled my ears with his hand. I purred appreciatively before a slight roaring reached my sensitive ears. I paused and glanced over my shoulder toward the direction the dragons usually came from. A cloud of bodies was coming in the growing twilight heading toward Berk. It didn't take a genius to put two and two together and realize that the cloud was a mass of dragons coming. I roared in warning, and Hiccup turned to look at me. He followed my gaze out to sea and gasped. "DRAGONS! COMING IN FROM THE SOUTH-EAST!"

"Man the catapults! We won't let the brutes get away this time!" Stoick bellowed when he heard Hiccup's cry and looked in the direction we were both staring. "We'll get the sheep and other farm animals into the forest. There's a safe place there for them to hide. Hiccup, you go with Gobber and help him in the shop. Tiger, I need you to protect the livestock. I'll send someone with you. ASTRID!"

"Yeah, Chief?" she said approaching us at a gentle lope.

"Go with Tiger and protect the livestock. There's dragons coming in from the Southeast tonight," ordered he.

"Right!" she trilled. We followed the massive wall of sheep as they were herded into the forest and toward the safer part of the island: a small mountain pass the dragons seemed to always miss.

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Chapter 10

I growled as a dragon flew down toward one of the stray sheep, and I followed the orders Stoick had given me. I leapt up onto a rock and roared to let the attacking dragon know that I wasn't going to let even a sick sheep get taken. My metal paw slipped and I fell slightly, but quickly regained my footing.

"B-but if we don't bring enough food back, we'll get eaten! What-where else are we supposed to find food?" one of them yelped. Astrid chased him away with a well-aimed rock. It hit him square in the jaw, forcing him to leave. I looked toward the village, where I had a perfect view from my perch. A Monsterous Nightmare lit itself on fire and dove toward the building I identified as the blacksmith's shop. Instantly my nerves threatened to smother me.

 Hiccup, I thought worriedly. While it was true that I knew he could handle himself, I was still nervous whenever he was in danger. That's when I heard it: the high-pitched scream usually followed by-FWOOM-BANG! Oh no. Night Fury. I desperately hoped that nothing ill had befallen Hiccup, or Gobber, who sometimes gave me pieces of chicken when Hiccup wasn't looking. Stoick would scratch me behind the ears, giving me utter bliss. Astrid climbed up next to me just as the Night Fury fired again, taking out another catapult and a house. He seemed to be taking aim at the blacksmith's shop and I began to panic. I reached down within myself and brought up my loudest challenge yet. She cringed and went down to a knee, covering her ears to keep from going deaf. But it worked. The dragon turned his big, squid-like head my way and came to investigate, leaving the village momentarily.

"Who gave that scream?" his voice sounded like raw silk: smooth, but rough at the same time.

"I did. And if you want to hurt my master, you're going to have to go through me," I snarled. "He works at the blacksmith's shop, the building you were just aiming for. I challenge you to the right to destroy buildings!"

"You're on, pipsqueak," he hissed. He worked up a decent sized gob of plasma and fired at me. I pushed Astrid out of the way and leapt a second before it landed. I jumped up and grabbed a tree top with my jaws, dragging it down with my weight. I curled my tail around a treeroot that was sticking up ridiculously high and pulled my projectile even further down. The Night Fury came closer, and within my range of attack. I released the rough bark and the root and rolled out of the way. I sat up and watched the tip of the tree as it hurtled toward the dragon, completely catching him off guard. I snickered when it clubbed him and sent him flapping unsteadily toward the direction the dragons always came from. He somehow still managed to fly above the village and avoid detection, and the other dragons followed him, ending the attack. I went over to where Astrid was and she gaped at me. One of the shepherds picked me up and held me aloft, making me dizzy from the height.

"Three cheers for Tiger! He chased the Night Fury away! Hip-hip!" another one cried. The others did the usual, "Hip-hip Hooray!" routine and we went back to the village.

Stoick wanted to know what the cacophony was about, so Astrid explained.

"Tiger tree-whipped a Night Fury that was stalking and harrassing the sheep! It was soo cool!" she exclaimed. Hiccup staggered wearily toward me after I was set down. I raced to meet him and cuddled him, wiggling beneath him so he could sit down. He automatically grabbed my harness as I trotted toward the house after confirming that everyone was alive and alright.

"So, what was that noise just before the Night Fury headed off toward the sheep?" Stoick asked. I murmured and nudged his hip lightly, drawing attention to myself. He looked down at me. "That was you? What in Thor's name did you do or say to that devil?"

I wiggled my butt until Hiccup woke up and changed to a barrel that was nearby. Then I took up a basic challenger position and roared softly. I winced as my throat suddenly decided it was raw and tired from the volume of the challenge scream. His eyes widened when he realized what I meant.

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Chapter 11

There was a small celebration for my "achievement" which ended the raid before it got too bad. I was too sore and tired to do much but keep from growling as people came up and scratched me behind the ears, hugged me, and petted me the wrong way. I did throw a few sparks at this last thing, but I was just exhausted, and didn't put up a fuss. Finally I decided enough was enough, and I nudged Hiccup and guided him to the door, hoping he would get the point. He smiled sleepily, and got on my back, holding onto my harness tightly as I nudged the wooden structure until it opened enough to allow us to leave without causing a stir. I dashed home, almost tripping down the stairs, and Hiccup granted us entry. We climbed into bed and lay down, both bone-weary from our respective duties. I sighed and snuggled closer to Hiccup, who made a tiny noise and pulled me closer.

 

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Chapter 12

I thumped my tail against Hiccup, waking him from his slumber. He smiled and swung out of bed. I growled playfully and we tussled for a bit before yawning.

"Today's the day, Tiger," he said as we bounded down the stairs. "Today Dad comes home from another search!" He hurried around cleaning the small home, then sat down and cooked both of us a small perch each. We wolfed them down hungrily and dashed outside. I crouched slightly and he got on my back, holding onto my harness, and we ran to the docks to see if there was any sign of the ships yet. Stoick had lead his twelfth search for the Dragon's Lair, which the humans called "the Nest," a week prior and was expected to return today.

Seeing nothing noteworthy, we trudged side-by-side back up to the village, where we split off to go to our separate duties. Hiccup had recently become Gobber's apprentice, and I headed into the trees, trying to savor the taste of the forest. I left my cart by the butcher's shop so I could return regularly, depending on my success, and check for ships. I brought down a small rabbit and my stomach rumbled loudly, so I settled down and tucked into the fresh meat. I buried the bones and fur under a rotten tree to disguise the smell, and resumed hunting. I killed a second, larger bunny and brought it back to the village just as a hron sounded to let everyone know that ships were coming. I dropped my quarry off at the butcher and ran to find Hiccup, who was coming out of Gobber's shop. I knelt and he got on my back again as we tore off for the docks. Stoick's shape was easy to identify, so if he wasn't there he wasn't coming back. Fortunately he was hard to miss in the throng of Viking warriors, who looked pretty badly beaten. I trotted along side him with Hiccup still on my back, but we both kept quiet and to ourselves as Stoick was clearly in a bad mood. From the aura of angry defeat, I guessed he didn't find the nest and lost at least one ship to the dragons' fiery maws. He barked a few orders and disappeared into the house, slamming the door behind him. I had to jump back to avoid having my paws and nose jammed. I glanced over my shoulder at Hiccup and we both slogged back to our duties. I dropped him off at Gobber's shop, where he shared the news, and decided to tour the town a bit more, see if there were any rats around the food bin. None were forthcoming, so I headed down to the docks to see if I could lure a fish to the surface and catch it. I had a particular method that involved patting the top of the water and waiting with my whiskers pressed to the icy waters.

Rats! Nothing, I growled in my mind. My eye caught a flicker of movement and I turned my head to see a young girl with long black hair staring out at the sea with forlorn, yet hopeful eyes. On her cheeks was a sheen of moisture I knew was tears, the human's way of expressing sadness. I nudged her hand and she absentmindedly stroked my head, never taking her eyes from the ocean. Stoick's heavy footsteps thundered down the wharf, as he came to check on both of us.

"Nina, I'm sorry. But your parents aren't coming home," he rumbled. Fresh tears fell heavier than any I'd seen, and she collapsed to her knees, sobs racking her thin frame to the point where I feared that something had broken inside her. Then it occurred to me what Stoick had said. Her parents were dead! That's why she was heartbroken! I recognized her as a fellow orphan, and licked her forehead. She pushed me away and ran up the docks, everyone getting out of her way quickly.

I heard a door slam and flicked my ears when a muffled, heart-wrenching moan reached my keen ears. I looked up at Stoick and purred softly. He sighed and patted my head with a limp wrist before trotting up the ramp and returning to his chiefing duties.

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Chapter 13

I scratched on the door, roaring softly but urgently. I had to pee really bad, bud I didn't have a bucket to pee into. Stoick yawned and rose from his sleeping place before thumping over to the door and opening it for me. I darted out and behind a bush where the still air carried the sound of me relieving myself to his ears and when I came back after a few minutes he rumbled a laugh.

"Had to pee, huh, Tiger?" he chuckled, running a hand down my back. I purred gently and nuzzled into his hand before trotting back up the stairs and going back to bed. Hiccup rolled over in his sleep and flopped an arm around my chest, filling me with happiness. Two months had passed since Stoick had gone off on that fateful search for the Nest, and I saw more and more of Nina in the forest with a stick-shooter and no shoes instead of in town with everyone else. I still scented sorrow on her, but it was diminishing, being replaced with the scent I associated with determination, hard work, and strangely enough, love.

I decided to follow her one day after I dropped off my cart at the butchers' shop. I slunk back into the forest, following the invisible trail she left unknowingly for me. I stopped when I came to a clearing next to an enormous tree. A rock stood a few meters away, but what bothered me is that Nina's scent went down, instead of up. Almost as though she had gone underground. A door opened up in the clearing, right where her smell disappeared. I jumped back, hackles raised and ready for a fight. I bared my teeth, ready to growl if need be. Nina came up out of the ground and I just sat down, dumbfounded. She spotted me and froze. A Terrible Terror sat on her back, peering out behind her at me.

"Herby, get back in the bunker!" she hissed. To our surprise, he instead flew over to me and landed in front of me, completely unafraid.

"Follow us. I know you mean us no harm, and I trust you," he said to me. I was stunned, but followed automatically as he flew slowly to the entrance of the cave Nina called the "Bunker." The heavy door closed behind us with an ominous thud.

I followed Herby and Nina down a winding corridor until we came out into a decent sized room. I flinched back and hid behind the doorway, scared stiff. There were about twenty Terrible Terrors, including Herby, and Nina was working with them? Had the loss of her parents driven her mad?! The dragons spotted me and surrounded me, growling viciously. They spoke no words, just growled menacingly. I slowly backed up until I was in a corner, where I flattened myself into the wall, trying to make myself bigger. It had no effect. I closed my eyes, hoping my death would be quick and painless when a voice I never thought I'd be happy to hear spoke up.

"That's enough! He's trustworthy enough. He's no threat, the humans can't understand him," Herby growled, leaping in front of me, wings raised in a challenging manner. "Besides, he found the bunker on his own, so he deserves to know more about our secret lives."

Without thinking I blurted out, "You guys need to bring food back so you don't get eaten!" I clapped my left paw over my mouth, mentally cursing my stupidity. Herby looked back over his shoulder at me.

"How do you know that?" he asked.

"I tree-whacked a Night Fury during a raid a few years ago. It was just a few months after I lost my leg. The attackers were trying to get the sheep and I told them I'd never let them get even a sick sheep. One of them told me that you guys need to bring back food so you don't get eaten," I explained hurriedly. I ducked my head, and hoped I wouldn't get fried.

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Chapter 14

I propped my paws up on the counter where Nina was working on something after the Terrors let me in hesitantly. I sniffed curiously.

"Tiger, if you get any closer, you'll singe your whiskers off," Nina laughed, wobbling a hand on my head. I snorted when a flame darted from a candle I'd misjudged the distance to and kissed my nose.

Then it occurred to me: she was speaking like a dragon, a language that was similar to mine. I had to get to the bottom of this! "Nina?" I asked.

"Yes?" she replied.

"How do you know Dragon?" I asked. She set the pencil down that she had been working with.

"I learned from Herby, who I taught to speak my mother tongue. He in turn taught me his," she answered.

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Chapter 15

The next day I woke up in Hiccup's arms again, happy, but feeling warmer than normal. I woke him up and after breakfast we went our seperate ways, him to the Blacksmith's shop, me to the forest with my cart in tow. Around lunch I started feeling nauseated, so I nibbled on some grass, are two squirrels, and returned to hunting. At the end of the day I hooked myself up to the cart and began pulling it back to town. For some reason my usual haul felt heavier than normal. I began to struggle with pulling it, hills became my friends when it came to pushing the cart further, my enemy when going uphill.

Finally, I crested the slope that would lead me back to the village. The ruts from all the trips before were dug deeply into the soft earth. My strength failed me half way down, and I was dragged underneath the cart, becoming banged up and bruised in addition to feeling nauseous.

When the cart finally came to a stop, a group of villagers came running up, Stoick among them.

"Tiger?" he called. I tried to growl a greeting, but couldn't get enough air into my lungs. Instead of a growl, I squeaked weakly. He got down on his knees and looked under the cart just as Hiccup ran up. He followed his father's example and looked under at me.

"Tiger? What are you doing under the cart, silly?" he asked me with a light, giggly tone. I sighed and lay my head down, too tired to keep it up. That's when he began to realize I wasn't playing around. "Dad! Tiger's under the cart. I think he's sick!" The huge man leaned over and looked under as well. He lifted the cart off me with a mighty heave, then Hiccup darted under and undid my harness, dragging me out from my position and into the sunlight. I hissed and closed my eyes, too weak to do much else. My savior seemed to understand that my eyes were sore, so he draped a piece of fabric over my eyes, blocking out the Sun's light. Stoick set the cart down and ran a gentle but firm hand down my side. I winced several times as he hit my bruises.

Hiccup picked my head up and set it in his lap. The sharp tang of fear filled the air, and my nostrils. I knew they were scared for me, afraid I was going to die. It was with this fear I shared with them, I finally, and mercifully, slipped into darkness.

The last thing I heard was Hiccup calling my name, "Tiger? Tiger?!...TIGER!"

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Chapter 16

Fevered dreams flickered around me, occasionally mingling with the outside world. I heard Hiccup crying and calling my name, faintly felt him lay his head on my side as I struggled to keep breathing, and twitched my lip slightly when Elder Gothi, whom I'd met several times, peeled my eyelids apart to look into my eyeball. It was disconcerting, but I didn't let it bug me too much as I had enough to worry about. My adoption birthday came and went, but no one felt like celebrating, too worried about me to bother. Hiccup's birthday passed in much the same manner. I drank very little and ate even less, so I became emaciated, longing for Death's warm embrace.

Eventually though, my fever wanned and released its hold on me. I opened my eyes on my own and lifted my head as best I could. Hiccup was curled up beside me, laying his head on my side, sleeping an uneasy sleep by the way he twitched. I purred weakly, but happily, and he opened his eyes. He looked up at me and threw his arms around my neck.

"Oh, Tiger! I was so worried about you," he said softly. Stoick came up the stairs, saw Hiccup with his arms around my neck and my eyes closed.

"I'm sorry, son. I guess the sickness was too much for him," he sighed, approaching us and kneeling next to me. He put a hand on Hiccup's shoulder, offering sympathy. I opened my eyes and licked his hand. "Oh! Well, you little scoundrel you!" He ruffled my head playfully and I tried to push myself to my feet, but was too weak to do so. I pulled my head around so I could lick Hiccup's face properly as my purring increased in volume.

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Chapter 17

((Special Snoggletog/Christmas chapter!))

The next few weeks were a whirlwind of activity. I'd become familiar with their traditions, even though I didn't understand them, and helped where I could. Hiccup insisted I rest and regain my strength, but I shook my head and rubbed against him before trotting off into the forest alongside one of the hunters. I knew I could at least flush out some game, possibly even bring some down, so I stuck close to him in case I got tired or had to come home. I chased a boar into his range, but the bumbling fool missed, forcing me to jump onto the creatures back and sink my teeth into its neck. I jerked my head from side to side, snapping the neck with a loud crack. I lay down on my kill, trying to catch my breath. I pushed myself to my feet and began to drag my quarry home. I stopped several times when my breath came in great heaving gasps, but I pushed on when they were no longer painful. It took me approximately half an hour to get back to the village. Hiccup was coming home for lunch when he spotted me.

"Tiger!" he shouted, running to me and throwing his arms around my neck again. I purred and nuzzled him, smearing a little blood from my muzzle onto his face. He looked at the boar I had brought down and his eyes widened. "I guess you can still hunt, huh?" I burbled an agreement. Then Stoick came up and knelt down to inspect me and my boar.

"Ha-ha! Tiger! You've still got it! You've earned the rest of the day off, furry friend. I'm glad Hiccup decided to keep you," he rumbled affectionately, scratching me under the chin. He picked up the boar in one hand and offered the other arm to me, scooping me up with very little effort. I dug my claws in slightly, and out of instinct, but then relaxed when he dropped the boar off at the butchers and took me home. "That boar will be the main course at the Snoggletog feast tomorrow. And we'll even give you a whole chicken to yourself, alright, Tiger?" He set me down and petted me for a bit before heading back out.

Before he left I gave a soft roar to get his attention. He paused and started when I ran up to him and rubbed against his legs. The happiness I felt amplified tenfold when he began scratching my back and side. I then trotted over to the nest of furs that was on the main floor in case I was too tired to climb the stairs, and flopped into it. Hiccup came in a few minutes later and knelt before me, using a bowl of water and a rag to clean my muzzle, chest, and paws from the boars blood. Then we both lay in content silence until bedtime, when we fell asleep.

Some time during the night Stoick must have spread a blanket over us because when I woke up the next morning feeling refreshed and energized, Hiccup was using me as a pillow as well as a nightmare-companion, but he was draped in a blanket whereas he wasn't when we fell asleep. I stretched and he woke up.

"Morning, Tiger! Happy Snoggletog!" he chirped sleepily. I sneezed violently and Stoick woke up with a start. "Morning, Dad! Happy Snoggletog!"

"Morning, you two. Which one of you sneezed?" he asked. I shook my head, fighting a second sneeze. It wouldn't go away so I pointed my head between my front paws and waited for it to come. 

PHhffftthbrbrbrbrbrbr! I sneezed, knocking myself off my feet. After they laughed, Stoick put me back on my feet and put a finger across my nose as my expression wrinkled again with another sneeze. It stopped mercifully, and Hiccup brushed me off then grabbed a comb, using it on my fur.

Soon it was glistening and softer than anything. We swapped paper-covered gifts from around the fireplace, and I got a new collar with a name tag, a perch (my absolute favorite), and a proper bed for my own personal use. Hiccup got a new vest, a new shirt, and a new pair of boots because he grew so much. Stoick got, from me, a piece of wood I had scratched into the rough shape of the village, as I knew how much it meant to him. Gobber had whittled tiny villagers and given them to him. From Hiccup he got several things, many of which I don't know if I could accurately describe, so I'll let you picture them yourself. But the one he reacted strongest to was a picture of me and him cuddled up together, sleeping. I was still a cub then, and he had picked me up in one of his tender moments and held me as I slept. He'd fallen asleep while holding me, so Hiccup had drawn us both.

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Chapter 18

((Another time-skip! Hiccup: 15. Tiger: 10.))

A few years later, Hiccup and I were scrambling around in near-panicked states. I'd been dozing with him brushing me when dragons began attacking. He opened the door, hesitated, then slammed it shut again, pressing against it to hold it closed. As flames licked the edges of the wood he said one single word: "Dragons."

I rolled my eyes and darted out after him. I leapt on a few sheep and snarled at the dragons who were going for them. I noticed the scaly beasts avoiding the long, slipperies, that Hiccup called "eels", so I picked a few up and wrapped them around some of the sheeps necks. The result was spectacularly instantaneous.

"EEEEELSSS!!!" one of them shrieked. I spotted a Zippleback coming in for a landing to grab some chickens and ran over, causing the chickens to flock to me. I hissed and spat at the dragon. The whisper of wind over wings reached my ears and my hair stood up on end even more than it already was. I burbled to the chickens when the Zippleback flew off, herding them under a house that was full of eels. I laid a barrel across the hole I had used to hide them, and dashed off when the Night Fury struck.

"You won't get away this time, you devil!" I roared. Tonight the dragons had set on us without warning. 

"Oh? And you're going to do something? I'd like to see tha-AT!" he yelped when Hiccup shot something at him. He'd rushed by me with a large, rickety, wooden contraption a few moments before.

"Oh, I hit it? Yes, I hit it!" I heard Hiccup cry. "Did anybody see that?" A Monstrous Nightmare climbed over the side of the cliff that he was at the top of and crushed his machine. "Except for you." I darted over to where Stoick was and nudged his hip when I heard Hiccup yell in fright. He looked over and sighed in annoyance before getting to his feet, ordering some of his men to keep the Nadders they had captured in the net.

"C'mon, Tiger. We'd best get him out of trouble," he growled to me, almost speaking Jaguar.

We hurried to intercept the dragon but got there too late as it had Hiccup cornered behind a large torch. It spat a stream of fire that was somehow more intense than any other attack. I darted forward, but Stoick beat me to it when the dragon's head poked around the side of the post, mouth agape as it tried to eat Hiccup. My hackles raised, and I growled menacingly as I stalked forward. Hiccup grabbed my harness and I rubbed against his legs, never taking my glare off the dragon. I'd sworn to protect him, and protect him I would until my dying breath.

Little did I know that the dragon he'd shot down would change both of our lives forever.

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Chapter 19

On our way back to the house, me practically tripping over my feet from weariness, Hiccup insisted that he hit the Night Fury. For once, I wished he could understand me so I could tell him that I knew he had hit it and brought it down. We entered the house and he darted out the back. I growled and gave chase.

You may not realize I'm keeping you safe, but by Thor will I! I thought to myself as we raced through the forest. He pulled out his field journal when he reached the forest and began sketching the land. He drew two circles, one inside the other, and a line of dashes with an arrow.

"I'll find it. I'll find it, kill it, and bring back its heart," I heard him say. He turned around when I stumbled. "Oh! Tiger. I didn't expect you to follow me. C'mon, let's find that dragon together." I sighed and trotted along side him. Several times he looked at his journal and made marks as he tried to find the dragon he'd shot down.

Just as we were both thinking that maybe it had somehow got free, he growled, dug his charcoal across the paper wildly and slapped a tree branch. He yelped when it cracked him in the face in retaliation. We both looked up and the hair on my back stood ramrod straight. He put a reassuring hand on my head and I growled to encourage myself. We followed a long, black gouge in the Earth and came over the top of a bluff. He gasped and ducked when he looked over the edge. I followed his example without question. I poked my nose over the top and sniffed. The wind carried the dragons scent over to my nose and I curled a lip as I peeked over the clearing. The monster was laying on its side, tied up tighter than a fool in vines. Hiccup grabbed his little dagger, and I stiffled a chuckle. It was small, sharp, and very unintimidating. He scrambled down the shallow embankment, with me shadowing him. I crouched and sprang up on the rock we hid behind when he darted out from behind it. My tail twitched back and forth, ready to leap between him and the dragon in a moment.

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Chapter 20

I nudged Hiccup's shoulder, trying to rouse him. I looked at where the beast had flown off to, grabbed his dagger, tucked it away in a pouch on my harness, then wiggled under him, carrying him back to the village. He came to half way there and told me to stop. I set him down under a tree and began to lap at a brook that ran nearby.

"Tiger, c'mere," I heard him say. I trotted over to where he sat, leaning against the tree. He scrubbed my head and ears with his hands, bringing our foreheads together as we stared into each others eyes. I closed my eyes and pulled away long enough to give him a big, wet lick. "Eugh!" He laughed as he wiped the spit from his face.

I stiffened as a scent caught my nose. I put a gentle paw on his stomach, telling him to stay low and stay put. I stalked around before spotting it: a wild boar about Hiccup's size, but deliciously fat. I crouched and waited for the right moment. The boar began rooting around the tree, snuffling something about truffles or somesuch, and I knew it was time to act. I rolled my shoulders and got even lower, tail twitching in anticipation. I leapt and dug my claws into its thick hide in one fell move. It squealed and ran around as though it were a chicken with its head cut off. I bared my teeth and sank them into the back of its neck, feeling and tasting hot blood fill my mouth. I jerked my head from side to side, breaking its neck so it fell in a lifeless heap. I roared triumphantly and heard an answering call from the direction the creature had flown off to. The fur on the back of my neck stood on end: the creature was a hunter too! I grabbed as much of the boar as I could and made my way back to Hiccup. He looked up as I entered the clearing. I growled and nudged him to his feet before grabbing my kill and slinging it up onto my back. I glanced at him and we both trotted back to the village. The sun was going down and had nearly set by the time we got back to town. I dropped off my boar at the butchers and returned home with Hiccup. We entered the house and both froze like rabbits under a predator's watchful, hungry gaze.

"Hiccup," Stoick said as his son tried to sneak upstairs.

"Dad! Uh...I have to talk to you," he said. Instantly the air was filled with the sharp, heavy scent of nervousness.

"I need to speak with you too, son," Stoick replied. They both took deep breaths and said their bits at the exact same time. I didn't understand what was said, but I knew that they wanted different things.

"What?" they said at the same time. I chuckled then set about grooming myself, washing the blood from my face and paws.

I didn't pay attention to what was said until Stoick took an ax from under me and gave it to Hiccup. He continued speaking but I returned to my cleaning, rolling my eyes skyward. "No more of...this," I heard Stoick say.

"You just gestured to all of me," I heard Hiccup reply in a tired, worn-out tone with just a touch of annoyance. I was licking my lips so I didn't hear what was said after that. All I heard was Hiccup say, "And I'll be here...maybe.

When Stoick closed the door after himself Hiccup set the ax down with a sigh. Then he noticed my bloody muzzle and paws. "C'mere, Tiger. Let's get washed up, then we'll have supper, okay?" he said, grabbing a bucket of warm water and a damp rag that was already red from the numerous times he'd washed my face and paws. It was our nightly ritual, and something we both kind of looked forward to. I didn't know why Stoick was so disappointed in Hiccup. He saved my life, thus giving the village a natural hunter, and he was quite a quick learner and a bright youngster. I guessed it was because he wasn't as strong as the others, but that just meant he got extra attention from me. I licked his hair as he worked on my back paws, which were also muddy. Then he made us supper and after eating, we went straight to bed. He lay his head on my side and I put my nose close to his hands so I could keep a sharp nose out for him. I licked my lips slightly, then swallowed and kissed his hands before finally, and gratefully, falling asleep.

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Chapter 21

After I dropped off my haul for the day, I decided to stop by the arena and see what was going on. A Deadly Nadder hissed at me, then I heard Hiccup asking about the Night Fury or something of the like.

"No one's ever seen one and lived to tell the tale, now GET IN THERE!roared Gobber, pointing.

"I know, I know, but hypothetically-" he was cut off by a curt whisper. I barely caught it.

"Hiccup! K-t," Astrid's voice was barely discernable. I couldn't catch the words exactly, but it sounded like she was clicking her tongue and teeth together.

I lay down and watched as the dragon destroyed the training arena, almost amused until Astrid leapt from the top of one of the falling walls and pinned Hiccup to the ground. They were both so entangled they couldn't get out. Finally Astrid disentangled herself and stood over him. The Nadder, who had been hissing at me while I wasn't paying attention, squawked and charged at them. She ripped the shield from his arm, coaxing a few cries from him which made me bare my teeth slightly.

She clubbed the Nadder up the side of the head, and all I heard from it was a weak-ish "ow." I snorted with laughter until she pointed her ax at Hiccup. I dropped into the arena and growled until she backed away from him. I stood over his prone figure protectively, glancing under my belly to make sure he was alright. He stank of fear, so I gave him a quick lick, then turned to glare daggers at Astrid.

"Put. The ax. Down," I growled in short, measured words. She didn't understand everything, but she got the point. She lowered her ax and I nudged Hiccup to his feet. We walked out of the arena together, he and I.

When we got home, he made for the forest and I begrudgingly went with him, grabbing an adventure bag that had the essentials in case we got stuck out in the woods. He grabbed a fish and a shield from the food bin and the armory respectively on his way out of town, and I struggled into the straps on the bag. If we were going into the woods, I wanted to make sure we were prepared this time.

Where are you going? I wondered when he trotted around a boulder a fair distance from the village. I followed him down into a beautiful grotto, marvelling at its etherial nature. Hiccup stopped between two boulders, and I joined him, my metal paw slipping a couple times. I skidded to a halt behind him. He glanced back at me in alarm, then sighed when he realized it was only me. He held the shield aloft and tossed the fish in first, peeking around to see if there was any danger. I took a cautionary sniff then growled as the stench of dragon filled my nose. Surely Hiccup wasn't going to socialize with that hideous beast?! He took a step forward with the shield in front of him, then stopped when it got stuck. He wiggled it, but to no avail, it was lodged in there solidly.

I worked at the straps around my arms until the bag fell from my back. It landed with barely a whisper. I heard the plop of something small, like a dagger, hitting the water. I peered under the shield and held my breath as Hiccup and a Night Fury interacted. All my instincts told me to run, while my heart told me attack. The internal struggle is what forced me to watch as the beast snatched the fish from Hiccup's hand and back him against a rock. It regurgitated a piece of it into his lap.

"You gonna eat that?" I heard it ask him. He seemed to get the idea because a few moments later I heard him make a noise, then a squelching sound soon followed. After that I detected several grunts. "Now swallow. Be a good hatchling-there you go. All gone?"

"Heh," I heard Hiccup say. I could hear the uneasy smile in his voice.

"No touching!" I heard the dragon growl before taking to the skies and flying a short distance before crashing to the ground. I snorted then snuck out from my hiding place, intent on getting Hiccup out of there. 

I nudged him to his feet and started to guide him out, but he dug his feet in and made his way around the pond to where the creature was laying.

"Great, it's sleeping. Now let's get outta here," I said to him, though I knew he couldn't understand me. The creatures head flew up and it locked eyes with me. Hiccup was sitting not far from its tail. I tried my hardest to keep its attention on me and away from Hiccup so he could get out of danger. I froze as he reached out to touch its tail. It followed my gaze and lifted its tail high in the air. Hiccup stood ramrod straight and stiffly made his way over to me. We started to head out, but I could tell he needed a place to sit. I nudged him over to a rock that was in a sunbathed area, then went over to get him something more palatable to eat. I grabbed a loaf of bread gingerly in my mouth and brought it over to him along with a small thing of chicken. He ate these gladly and scratched me behind the ears before I trotted off to get something for myself.

When I returned I could feel a shift in the air, as though the world was holding its breath. I watched in awe as Hiccup and the dragon faced each other. Then Hiccup closed his eyes and turned his head away as he reached out a hand toward the dragon.

"Yo-you're not like them," I heard the dragon say. "I'm honored to call you an ally, and a friend." It leaned forward and touched its nose to his hand. As one, the world seemed to sigh with relief.

Hiccup looked at the dragon hesitantly, then it took off. He made his way up to me, grabbing the bag in the process, then we left. That evening, I joined the others to listen to Gobber tell tales as we all sat around the fire. Hiccup seemed lost in thought, and I could tell it was because of his encounted with the dragon. I followed him when he left the circle. We ran to the forge where he opened his book. I raised myself up slightly on my back legs to see what he was looking at. A drawing of the dragon with part of its tail missing was sketched out. He drew the tail-piece back then set to work.

Hours later, he held up the finished work and I couldn't help but think, All that work for that piece of trash? That'll never work! But I kept my opinions to myself, then we went home and to bed. He set the thing he'd made by his bed and patted the bed for me to join him, which I did gladly.

 

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Chapter 22

A couple weeks later, I sensed a change, and a major one at that. I followed Hiccup to the clearing where the dragon, who he called Toothless, was waiting. He had a saddle of sorts in his arms, and a small basket of fish. I was extremely curious as to what he intended to do with the odd mishmash of items. The dragon let him put his contraptions on, then allowed him to guide me over. Once there he bent down and hefted me onto the saddle and clipped my harness in. He swung up onto the saddle in front of me and we took off. I yelped and dug my claws in. The swaying was waaaay too intense up here.

"ARGH! Get me off of this thing!" I howled, voice going shrill from fear. The creature turned back to look at me as best he could and dove, spinning upside down to drag me through the treetops. I dangled for a while before the straps snapped.

"Tiger!" Hiccup screamed, turning the dragon around to get me. But it was too late. I'd already fallen to the underbrush. I shook my head dazedly and staggered toward his voice which came through the trees. He fell to his knees and motioned for me to lie down. I did so, and he felt me all over, giving me a massage and checking to make sure I wasn't hurt. I lifted my head and looked at him as his hands moved up my body, meeting his green eyes with my golden ones. "I'm guessing you don't like flying, huh, Tiger?" I shook my head no and groaned, laying down to keep from vomitting. I rolled onto my stomach and nibbled on the sparse grass, using the greenery to calm my churning stomach.

"Bleh," I said. It was the only sound the humans understood aside from my gagging sound, which also resembled the coughing noise.

Hiccup laughed and ran a hand down my back. My guts settled down, occasionally gurgling in displeasure. I spoke without looking at him, "Come on, let's head back to the village." I got to my feet and nudged him to his. We headed back towards the village but he turned down the other path.

"I'll be back for supper, Tiger. Don't worry," he called as he trotted down the pathway to the glade. I followed him, rolling my eyes and trying not to think about him flying thousands of feet in the air and falling to the ground, which, if memory served, would leave a nice splatter on the rocks or ground.

"Hey!" I called to the dragon, who gave me a venomous look, which I returned. "Look. Clearly he's including you in his life, for whatever reason. How about we make a truce, just to keep him safe?"

He huffed and growled before looking back up at me, a fiery intenseness in his eyes I'd never seen in anyone else's except for Stoick's when he was worried about Hiccup. "Deal. I'll protect him, don't worry," he said, spitting fire on the ground. I made my way down into the clearing, licked my good paw and held it out to him. He seemed a bit taken aback, but then licked his own paw and we wrapped them around each others paw. He curled his lip slightly, matching my expression. "Why did you do that?"

"It's a human thing," I said dismissively. "He rescued me from the Big Cold water when I was a few seasons old. I saved him from a bear, which is how I got this-" I showed him my metal paw. "-and also earned the hunting respect from the villagers."

"So you're the Hunter," he said, putting together some complex dragon puzzle that he knew about. I tilted my head curiously, then noticed Hiccup check the saddle one last time, mark something down in his field journal, then look at us inquisitively. "Among our people, at my old Nest, we heard rumors about a hunter who can move like the wind, swift and quiet, taking down even the prey that we couldn't find. I'd thought it was just the tales of fiction, but seeing and meeting you personally, I'm beginning to think that you've made quite a name for yourself."

"Ready to go, Bud?" Hiccup asked, leaning over to look at Toothless' face. He snorted a "yes", then turned back to me.

"Meet me back here when the moon is high. We can continue talking then, okay?" he said to me. I nodded silently, scrambling back when he raised his massive wings that blocked out the Sun and took up all of the sky. With a leap that propelled then high in the sky and the wingbeats of the Night Fury's inky wings keeping them aloft, I felt a bit more comfortable leaving Hiccup in Toothless' care.

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Chapter 23

I pounced on Hiccup as he came through the door, reeking of fire and looking about as rough. I sniffed him then groomed him, cleaning him up enough that he was presentable. He shoved me off playfully then grabbed a stick, which I latched onto as well. We played tug-of-war for a bit before he trotted out the door with me close on his heels. We went to the forge where he sat down at his bench, clearly bothered by something. I set my good paw on his right leg, sighing as I rested my chin next to it. He absently scratched my head for a bit then flicked a pencil up his desk, then it rolled down, sounding mildly seductive. I matched my purring to the sound and he smiled. I pricked my ears towards the door when I heard a small, deep noise. After a moment Hiccup looked up too. Stoick was standing in the doorway. Hiccup jumped up in surprise and alarm. 

Dad! You're back! Uh-uh Gobber’s not here so-“ he started to say. 

I know,” his father rumbled. The fur on my tail bristled unconsciously. “I came looking for you.” Hiccup flipped his notebook closed and scraped a hand across the papers on his desk which were covered in drawings of Toothless. I tried to keep from facepawing while Hiccup’s fear began to carry over to me. “You've been keeping secrets. 

I-I have?” Hiccup asked, fear growing with each passing moment. 

Just how long did you think you could hide it?” Stoick growled, but there was something sort of…off about his demeanour. Hiccup was almost shaking in his boots, but Stoick wasn't giving off a threatening aura at all. If anything it was a slightly playful manner. Before I could peg down what I was getting he interrupted Hiccup. “Nothing happens on this island without me hearing about it. 

Oh?” Hiccup said in a tiny voice. 

Stoick straightened threateningly. “Now let's talk about that dragon,” he said. I swallowed nervously. 

Oh gods,” Hiccup breathed, panicking. “Dad, I'm so sorry, I wanted to tell you but I just… 

Stoick dropped his angered veil and uttered a belly laugh, rocking back on his heels. Hiccup joined in, laughing anxiously. “You-you're not…upset?”  

What?! I was hoping for this!” Cried Stoick. 

I sensed a sinking feeling from Hiccup. “Ah, you were?” He asked. 

I wasted no time getting out of there. I looked up at the sky and realized that I was going to be late. I tore off for he trees, keeping to the shadows as necessary. I reached the alcove and called down. 

“Toothless!” I hissed. His shadowy bulk heaved into the moonlight, eyes almost glowing in the bright moonlight.  

He looked up at me, his tail hidden in the shadows. “Were you followed?” He asked. I shook my head and darted down into the valley. He sighed with relief and met me. He brought his tail around as he laid down, that's when I noticed his tail was damaged, replaced by a burlap piece. 

“What happened?” I asked, sniffing it.  

“Hiccup shot me down. It ripped my tail fin off. He spared me, and I him, then he built me this,” he answered. What about you? Did he make that for you too?” 

“No. I saved him from a bear when he was ten summers old,” I replied. “I was five. From that day on I made sure to keep an extra close eye on him, but I fear that if he's out of my sight and not with someone I know he'll get hurt, and there won't be a blasted thing I can do about it. Please, I'm begging you: keep him safe, no matter what it costs you!" 

He looked at me for a brief spell, then hesitantly reached out and licked my face gently. I tried to keep from insulting him, but I couldn't keep from hissing. 

"Don't worry. That just means I'll keep you safe too. He was angrier than a female protecting her hatchlings when you fell from my back," Toothless chuckled. He sighed. "Sorry about that, by the way. I just figured, hey, now we're even. You treewhacked me, I treewhacked you." Our ears tilted towards the village, where I could hear Stoick calling for me. 

"I need to go," I said. "Remember what I said: keep Hiccup safe." I slunk back up and out of the grotto as he melted back into the shadows. I grabbed a pair of rabbits on the way back to the village, making it look like I'd been on a late-night hunting trip. I purred a greeting to Stoick as I trotted up to him, and he ruffled my ears as we headed back to the village.

"Off on a hunting trip, eh, Tiger?" he asked me with a chuckle. I bobbed my head in a rough approximation of a nod, then we both headed back to the village. I dropped my rabbits off, then, after a bath and supper, we all went to bed. Hiccup didn't sleep well that night, and it wasn't until the next day that I'd find out why.

 

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Chapter 24

I jumped up with a yelp when Hiccup opened the door and informed me that he was leaving Berk forever. I followed him into the woods and raced ahead of him, blocking his path. He'd taught me a few things over the years, and writing was one of them. I pulled out a journal and flipped it open to a new page, then removed my charcoal pencil and wrote two short, simple words:

No go.

He sighed and set down his things. "Tiger, I have to go. I can't and won't kill a dragon. Not after I've made friends with Toothless," he said, pulling me in for a tight hug. Sadness and fear came off him in waves. I licked him as best I could, then flopped a paw over his shoulders, holding onto him for dear life. I tilted my ear slightly as a rustling sound was heard, heading off in the direction of Toothless' Cove. I pulled back away from Hiccup and pinned him to the ground, giving him my biggest, roundest, saddest eyes ever, begging him not to go in all but words. His eyes filled up with tears and he pulled me down for one last hug before rolling me on my back, then darting off, waving a hand at me when I tried to follow. My heart sank, shattering into a million tiny shards when it hit my stomach. I flopped down on my paws and moped, not even bothering when a rabbit came up to me. A squirrel came up next, but I slumped to a small den-like area in some boulders that were nearby. I must have been a pitiful sight because several forest animals, who I normally would have killed, cuddled up next to me, comforting me.

A scream reached my ears, faint with distance. My head shot up and I looked out of the mouth of the cave, my actions spooking the animals into fleeing. I bolted to where I heard the scream come from, and looked up as Hiccup's voice reached me.

"You have to give me a chance to explain!" he said to someone. I squinted up through the foliage, backing up when I still couldn't see. Astrid was hanging from a tree branch like an ornament.

"I am not listening to anything you have to say," Astrid roared back. I jumped up as high as I could to a rocky outcropping, ignoring their conversation for a moment. I reached the top and pricked my ears forward to catch each word.

"See, there's nothing to be afraid of," Hiccup said, a bit nervously.

"Yet," Toothless said before propelling himself, Hiccup, and Astrid into the air, climbing higher and higher with each wingbeat. Astrid's screams were as clear as a bell for me, and I couldn't help but chuckle a bit.

Something glinted, catching my eye. I made my way to where I'd seen the object and found Astrid's ax hidden by some brush. It looked like it had slid there, so it wasn't hard for me to figure out what happened. Astrid was obsessed with sharpening her ax, so she was likely waiting for Hiccup to arrive. I followed her scent to a rock, where it was thickest. A basket with Hiccup's scent on it was sitting not far from the rock, and when I flipped it open, he had a picture of me and Stoick, some fishing materials, as well as a blanket I'd slept with when we were both young cubs. He was still a cub in my eyes, and in his village's eyes too, but he wasn't as young a cub as some other cubs in the village. A lump formed in my throat, and I nuzzled everything lovingly, inhaling his scent in case I never saw him again.

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Chapter 25

I jumped up in alarm when Toothless landed fairly noisily in the Cove. I looked around in a near-panicked state. I'd fallen asleep curled up around the basket, with the blanket nestled between my paws. My sleep-addled mind didn't pick up a comprehensible word of their conversation for a moment. Then Astrid punched Hiccup's arm, and I was instantly awake. Something about the punch seemed like a playful bite my siblings and I gave each other when we were together.

"That's for kidnapping me," she said. She brushed her hair out of her face, and pulled Hiccup in to give him a peck on the cheek. "That's for...everything else." She turned and started back toward the village, glancing back over her shoulder once to look at Hiccup one final time before jogging out of sight.

I approached Hiccup with the blanket in my teeth and the basket being dragged behind me by my tail. I looked at him in the moonlight, and saw a distant, far-off look on his face. He smiled softly, and then Toothless came up beside him and purred with satisfaction.

"Well what are you looking at?" Hiccup asked. I gurgled a laugh.

"You're welcome for nothing, you silly human boy," Toothless replied. I laughed so hard I was snorting and rolling on the ground.

"Tiger! I thought I told you to go home," Hiccup said, finally noticing me. I gave him my big eyes and he knelt down, giving me a bear hug, pulling as much of me as possible to himself. I licked him repeatedly, coaxing a sound of disgust from him. He pushed me off then grabbed a stick to play with, throwing it, and laughing as I crashed through the underbrush after it as we headed back to the village.

We came to the crest of a smaller hill and he tried to grab the stick out of my mouth, but I set my jaw and pulled until he got the idea to climb onto my back. I tore through the forest as though I were a breath of wind, smooth and flowing, but still fast. I leapt powerfully, with Hiccup still on my back, and landed on a tree, which bent under our combined weight, letting us basically slide into the outskirts of town. As I stepped off the tree, it snapped back and cracked my belly painfully. I staggered, but kept going forward. Hiccup and I entered the house and, after checking to make sure there was no permanent or even temporary damage aside from a few bruises, we went to bed.

As we lay there that night, Hiccup told me what had happened that drove him to almost leave Berk behind forever.

"I was chosen to kill a dragon, Tiger. I have to kill one in front of the entire village." His voice caught slightly on the word "kill" but he kept his voice to a quiet whisper. He lay on his back, stroking my fur as he spoke. I leaned over and licked his cheek comfortingly. "What am I gonna do? I can't kill that dragon, but I don't want to disappoint my father." He sighed, rolling over onto his stomach and resting his head on his right hand while his left hand ruffled my head. "I guess I'm going to have to change his mind too. I have to make them see that dragons aren't evil. Just like how Toothless showed me. In a way, you showed me that too. They respect you, so I'd feel really comfortable if you were there too, Tiger. Do you think you could stay out of the forest for the day, just to make sure I'm okay?"

I gave him a look that said it all. "What do you think I do? Leave you to the wolves?" He chuckled, then lay his head on my side, soon slipping into a light, uneasy sleep. I sighed and decided to consult the stars, which my mother once told me were the messengers of the gods and goddesses. I grabbed a pillow from the pile near the bed, and slipped it under Hiccup's head. He stirred, then settled down again. I crawled under the bed and down the stairs, past Stoick's sleeping form, where he sat slumped before the fire, snoring loud enough to wake the dead. I used my tail to open the door and close it behind me as I left. Even if Stoick had woken up, he likely would have assumed that I'd just gotten up to go to the bushes for a quick pee break. I climbed the tallest hill that was relatively close to the village, and found a cliff that had a view of the stars. A streak of light shot across the sky, and I gasped, recognizing it.

"I-I really don't know what to say," I stuttered. "I know I won't be around forever, but please, keep my human safe, and his village too. Help his people see that the dragons aren't inherently evil, help them see the truth. I don't know if I can ask these things of you, Great Goddess, but my mother told me before she died that you would always be there to keep an eye out for us. You have given me the responsibility to look after and care for this human and I've taken care of him well so far. I made an error with the bear, but I am grateful I didn't come out unscathed either. For giving me victory over the bear that day, and letting my human walk away relatively unharmed, I thank you, and I swear, to my dying breath, I will protect Hiccup, even if it costs me my life."

My words seemed to echo slightly, as though reverberating through the still night air. One star seemed to twinkle slightly, as though blinking in response to my words. I felt a sudden peace wash over me, like a wave of icy water. I sighed to keep my nerves under control as I trotted back to the village. I nudged the door open, closed it behind me, and headed back upstairs, where Hiccup was tossing and turning. He settled down immediately when I wiggled under his head, pushing the pillow off the bed. My human, I thought with a slight grin. I curled around and gave Hiccup a light lick on the forehead, and he smiled, pulling my head in closer in his sleep. I felt my small lip turning turn into a full-blown smile as he did that. I closed my eyes and fell asleep.

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Chapter 26

Disastrous. That's all I have to say about Hiccup's time in the ring. Stoick smashed his hammer down on the metal, making my hair stand on end. I spat at him as he tripped over me, sending me reeling. I leapt down into the ring and hissed at the Nightmare as it chased Hiccup and then Astrid around. I bit his tail, and he flamed up. I released his tail immediately and leapt between him and Hiccup, who had tripped. He swatted me aside and I blacked out temporarily. Hiccup ran toward me as I lay prone, and the Nightmare pinned him. I sat up groggily and roared in outrage.

"GET OFF MY HUMAN!" I screamed at the Nightmare. He ignored me and bent low over Hiccup, as though contemplating what to have him as, whether a main course or as a side. I lurched to my feet, staggering as I did so, but before I could move, I heard a familiar whistle-shriek shortly before a Fwoom-BANG! erupted over my head. Smoke filled the arena as Toothless pounced on the Nightmare, wrestling him off Hiccup. I stumbled over to Hiccup, who grabbed my harness tightly. The smoke cleared and Toothless began spitting insults and threats at the Nightmare.

"You eel-loving, human-killing, sick, sadistic-" My eyes widened and I was grateful that no humans could understand the words he was saying. "If you ever come near my human or his jaguar again, I will personally see to it that you become a cloak!" I gasped in shock. That was the worst thing a dragon could say to another dragon.

"Okay, okay, sorry! He made a loud noise and I overreacted," the Nightmare protested.

"Get out of here before I finish you off!" Toothless shrieked, swiping at the Nightmare, who was too far away, but seemed to get the idea. His actions chased the Nightmare away and then Hiccup left my side to stand by Toothless.

"Alright, Bud. Go get outta here!" Hiccup hissed to him, pushing Toothless' head gently, trying to get him to flee. I took a step forward and collapsed, too dizzy and weak to stand up. I lay my head down on my paws, struggling to keep breathing. I didn't feel or hear anything for about an hour, but when I came to, Hiccup was riding by on a Deadly Nadder with Astrid holding on around his waist. 

I must have hit my head harder than I thought, I thought as I watched the others fly by on their own dragons: A Gronckle for Fishlegs, a Hideous Zippleback for Ruffnut and Tuffnut, and the Monstrous Nightmare for Snotlout. I roared a farewell to Hiccup and the others. I stood up on my back legs to wave with my good paw.

"Don't worry, Tiger. We'll be back!" I heard Hiccup call. I rolled my eyes and went back to the house, thinking I could get some shut eye or at least clean.

About six hours later, Stoick came back in carrying someone. I looked up in alarm as the stench of burning flesh reached my nose, mingling with Hiccup's scent. Even more shocking for me was the fact that he allowed Toothless to enter the house with no signs of hostility. I could tell Hiccup was broken, even without him being conscious. Stoick sat down on a stool and beckoned me over. I propped my front paws on his knee, and he stroked me absentmindedly.

"Tiger, I need you to get along with Toothless, for Hiccup's sake if nothing else." My eyes widening must have been all he needed to see to understand my surprise. "Hiccup fell from Toothless' back while they were facing off against a dragon the size of this island. Toothless saved him, Tiger. He-" Gobber came in and cut him off.

"Well, y'know, most of 'im," he said. He had a strange metal object in his hand, and he reeked of sweat and slightly of manure. He flipped the cover back on Hiccup's bed and showed me the severely burned limb. I must have looked as horrified as I felt.

I whirled around and gave Toothless a wounded look. "You promised to keep him safe and whole," I said quietly before tearing out the door.

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Chapter 27

Whenever I was angry while my mother was still alive, she would always tell me to practice my pouncing until I couldn't remember why I was upset in the first place. I found a series of rocks and practiced until my paws were almost bleeding, but I still couldn't forget that Hiccup had been injured while under Toothless' protection. I stopped around nightfall and realized I didn't know where I was. I climbed up to a cave that I had seen before the darkness stole my vision. There was no moon tonight, so I was following my memory and instincts. A sound caught my ear and I turned my head to catch it, pausing my trek. 

"Tiger!" a familiar voice called. It was Astrid! I roared and then she came out of the forest and joined me. She was alone, and had a torch with her. "Oh, it's good to see you too. Stoick's worried about you and he's looking for you. C'mon let's-" She cut herself off when she realized she couldn't find anything in the pitch black night. "Hm...We'll have to find somewhere to shelter for the night, and get our bearings in the morning." I tugged her skirt with my teeth and limped a short distance with her following me quickly. I lead her to the cave I'd seen and lay down near the mouth. I was far enough in that I was protected from the wind, but not so far that I'd be intruding on any occupants' personal space. Astrid sat down beside me, and leaned against my side. I nudged her until she was laying down, then purred to her until she fell asleep. I lay my head down and began to doze, soon finding I'd forgotten the reason for my anger, then joined Astrid in her slumber.

Sometime during the night her torch must have gone out, because I woke up to her shivering quite violently. I curled around her, and she tucked into me tighter, slowly beginning to warm up. Soon her shivering stopped altogether, and she settled into a deep sleep.

I started from my sleep, eyes staying closed, but ears pricked high in the air to catch the smallest sound. Something massive was moving around, a creature the likes of which I'd never seen before. I heard the beast stop near us, and tensed up slightly, prepared to attack at a moment's notice.

"Astrid?" I heard Stoick say. My head flew up and my eyes shot open. "Tiger. What a relief." I looked out of the cave mouth and saw dawn less than an hour away. I nudged Astrid half a dozen times before she woke up.

After a reunion between the chief and Astrid, I stood at the mouth of the cave and roared back to them, grabbing their attention. Side by side, we headed back to the village.

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Chapter 28

As we entered town I heard several people call out "look it's Hiccup!" I lifted myself on my back legs and spied him not long after. I got down on all fours and limped over to him in such a hurry I almost tripped over myself in excitement. He saw me and bent down to embrace me. I felt him shaking, though from pain or happiness I didn't know. I began to groom him, and kiss his face. He turned his face away and laughed. I heard his metal leg slip slightly and he winced. I sniffed it and butted my head against his chin, comforting him.

"Well Tiger, looks like we have something in common," he said. He looked around and almost fell over when he saw my bleeding paws. "Dad, Tiger's hurt. We need a healer."

Soon a healer was tending my wounds up in the house while Toothless and Hiccup went out for a flight. It was going to take some getting used to, seeing Vikings and dragons getting along and living together. I lay down on a grassy patch not far from the house as I basked in the sunlight. I closed my eyes and drank it all in. I sighed with contentment and began to doze. A bunch of cubs from the village swarmed to me, climbing on me and stepping on my paws. I tucked my paws tightly, and let them pet me, decorate me and the like. They soon lost interest and ran off to find someone else to harass. A Gronckle, the same one Fishlegs had ridden on, came up to me and sniffed curiously.

"I've never seen anything like you before," she said. 

"I've seen your kind plenty of times during raids," I commented. "Tiger."

"Meatlug," she said. "So what happened? To your paw?"

"Oh! I was five and Hiccup was in danger. I prevented a bear from killing him, but didn't entirely succeed. He has scars on his belly because I wasn't there when he needed me most," I said. My stump began to itch, so I used my teeth to remove my fake paw and scratched it with light nibbles. Once the itching subsided, I slipped the metal object back on my stump, noticing that it was significantly smaller when when I first got it. I made a mental note to write Stoick a note about it. 

A Deadly Nadder, the same one Astrid and Hiccup rode off on together, came up to me next. "Hi," she said cheerfully. I didn't hear her, as I was dozing, then my head hit the grass and I fell asleep.

I woke up to Hiccup nudging me. He was sitting down next to me and didn't seem able to get up. He motioned for Toothless to stay where he was, so I helped him up, letting him use my harness as needed. He finally stood and we began to head back towards the house. I was limping because my prosthetic had gotten too tight to bear so I'd removed it. I had it in my teeth as we headed home. I bumped the door affectionately until it opened. I went to the nest of furs and lay down. Hiccup gestured upstairs, and I sighed, rising from my comfy spot and following him. He patted the bed and I leapt up, circled twice before laying down. That's when he noticed the metal in my mouth.

"I guess we'll have to make you another one, Tiger. I'll do it-" He was interrupted by a yawn. "I'll do it in the morning. Night, buddies." He lay his head on my side and, after tossing around for a bit and wincing slightly, when he accidentally kicked his stump. Finally, he settled down and fell into a fitful sleep. After a bit of purring on my part, I joined him.

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Chapter 29

I growled viciously as something whizzed by me faster than anything I'd seen. Something connected with my metal paw and I yelped. I noticed a Viking villager running somewhere when suddenly they froze mid stride. I felt my jaw fall open. I looked up at Stoick, who had seen it happen, and he turned and bellowed for everyone to get to the Cove. Everyone scrambled into the forest, and I followed not long after. Stoick brought up the rear, and I roared in outrage when something zipped by and stole a crate of yak jerky. I leapt up and scratched one of the something's as it raced by. It stopped and glared at me, and for the first time we got a look at our opponents. Fishlegs almost squealed in terror.

"Speedstinger!" he shrieked. The leader stopped and examined the claw marks I'd given one of them. Fixing me with an icy glare he disappeared and I felt something sting the base of my tail. I froze mid scream. If my tail could have twitched, it would have. I felt Stoick pick me up, then something hit his leg and he started to flag. I tried to growl to encourage him, but only succeeded in humming briefly.

We made it to he Cove and he set me down before taking up a stance on a rock. He drew his sword and uttered a war cry before freezing in place. I could only hope that Hiccup and Toothless would be able to do something. I was somehow able to keep breathing, so I was fully conscious of when Astrid came up to me and laid a fish in front of me, then she went up to the chief and stick a sharpened stick with a cooked fish in front of him. Somehow, and sometime, I managed to fall asleep standing up and with both eyes wide open. My mouth began to feel extremely and painfully dry, so I wiggled my tongue and managed to lick my lips. Astrid saw the gesture and came over with a bowl of water, which I gulped down eagerly. She held the fish up for me to nibble on. After I finished that I felt my body begin its natural functions and I almost cried, whining instead, as my pee ran down my legs and my excrement fell behind me. I squinted until my eyes shut, too embarrassed to think. Around dawn the next morning I was able to move my head and neck, and even wobble forward a few steps on my still frozen legs. I burbled happily when I saw Hiccup and Toothless again, along with the man who had saved my life when I couldn't breathe. 

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Chapter 30

I followed Hiccup on the ground for a bit, since I recovered fairly quickly. I froze when I caught a familiar scent that made the hair on the back of my neck stand ramrod straight. I roared softly, just loud enough for one of the dragons to hear me, then turned and bolted after the creature's invisible trail. The sun was close to setting, and I knew that Hiccup and the others were nervous with a capital "N" though I didn't know exactly what for. I skidded to a halt when I came to the mouth of a cave. I paced in front of it, trying to keep from pelting in there and killing everything that moved. A few moments before sunset Toothless and the other dragons, with their riders in tow, landed behind me. 

Hiccup tried to go towards the cave, but I pushed myself between him and the opening, growling at the mouth of the cave.

"Don't worry, Tiger. I'll be okay," he said, stepping around me. I looked incredulously at Toothless, who was completely clueless as to what was in there.

"Has he taken leave of his senses?" I asked.

"No, he's just looking for the other dragons," Toothless replied matter-of-factly. I rolled my eyes. "What?"

"Those things are hellspawns. They aren't going to leave quietly," I answered annoyed.

Something happened inside, and Toothless stepped around me, joining Hiccup. I chuffed in irritation and followed them to keep them safe. I don't know when or how it happened, but disaster struck not long after Hiccup and Toothless went in there. Instincts told me when to move, and I did as ordered. I pounced on a passing shape. It was the leader. 

We struggled for a bit, him pushing me onto my back and aiming his stinger at my stomach or throat, but I always kept myself safe. I bit his stinger once, and he howled in outrage. I used his distraction to kick him off me. I leapt and pinned him. I held him down with my good paw and held his tail with mine. I bared my teeth and brought them close to his neck.

"Leave," I hissed menacingly. "Or die!"

I got up off him when he went limp. He was on his feet in an instant, and I got ready for another fight. He wasted no time getting out of there. Instead of taking the ice bridge, however, he ran clear off the side into the water. I was horrified. I looked back at the others, not sure whether to believe what I'd just seen or not. The other Stingers surrounded me, and I was certain this was the end for me. I refused to let them see me as weak or cowardly, however, and instead sat down and lifted my chin slightly. When nothing happened for a few moments, I opened my eyes and saw them bowing to me in a circle.

"Whoa," Hookfang said, mirroring everyone's expression.

One of the Speedstingers approached me, head lower than mine. "Greetings, Leader. Our ways dictate that whoever defeats the original Leader is the leader themselves, and we serve them and follow their orders, be they Speedstinger or not," she said. I nodded to her.

"Thanks for explaining that," I said. I got to my feet and they rose to their full height. I headed towards Hiccup and the others, rubbing against Toothless in passing before coming to Hiccup, who scratched me under the chin, and then behind the ears. Stoick arrived not long after.

"Hiccup, what are those things doing on my island still?" he growled. I caught his eye and walked towards the Speedstingers.

"Sit down," I said. They didn't seem to understand, so I showed them. I rose on my back legs slightly, then sat back like I often saw Toothless do. "Like this."

A chorus of "Oh!s" soon followed, then they all sat down. I glanced back at Stoick and his jaw was on the ground. I knew I had the Stinger's respect, and Stoick's as well.

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Chapter 31

On the way back to the village I realized I had another, bigger, issue to deal with: What to do with the Speedstingers once we got back to the village. We arrived at the house and I took an old boot I chewed on to think. An idea struck me. I called the Stinger that had helped me, and slipped my old harness on her. It was a bit snug, especially on her back where her fins stood up. I used a small knife and ordered her to lie down. Then I made a slit in the back that made it possible for the harness to fit comfortably. I looked back at her stinger and sat down for a moment to think, gnawing on the boot methodically.

Hm...What to do? What to do? I thought. I set the boot down and looked at her tail. I was thinking so hard I didn't notice I was looking down until my eyes focused again and I saw the boot. Somehow it connected, and I slid the somewhat soggy boot onto her tail. It wasn't very comfortable, but she put up with it. I lead her outside. "Run down to the docks and back here," I ordered her. She was gone and back in a flash, but the boot was in her teeth this time. "I'm guessing that fell off?"

"Yff," she said through the boot. I blinked a moment before it clued in what she said. I put it back on her tail and used a length of stretchy string and tried to tie the boot over her tail. She held still, and let me do what I was doing.

"Is that too tight?" I asked.

"No," she said. "It's not the most comfortable, but not in a bad way. It's different. Thank you." She bowed to me again.

"Great! Follow me," I said. I lead her to Gobber's and pulled out my notebook. I used my pencil and explained what I wanted him to do when he came over.

"Yer a little invent'r aren'tcha, Tiger?" he said, ruffling my ears I purred and licked his hand. "How many o' these d'ye need?" I looked back over my shoulder at the Stingers, who had all followed me. "Arright! I'll git right on it."

I gave him a rough interpretation of a smile, then trotted off. Hiccup and Toothless landed not long after I reached the door. 

I pulled out my notebook again and wrote down a message. I tore the page out of my book and rolled it up as best I could. I slipped it into the strap on my old harness that was on the female, and she looked at me blankly, not understanding it. "Run that message to Mulch. He's got a hook for a hand and smells like fish."

"Yes, Leader!" she chirped, vanishing. Not long after that a surprised cry of "Thor Almighty!" was heard resounding through the village.

"Messengers?" Toothless asked me. I nodded, then looked up at Hiccup, hoping he understood.

He did and went down on a knee to hug me. "You brilliant cat, you," he said affectionately. I purred and nuzzled him.

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Chapter 32

Gobber delivered the harnesses and Stinger covers two days later. He'd needed more measurements and materials. I felt bad that Hiccup and Stoick had to pay for them, so I decided to go hunting to make it up to them.

"Stingers, I need you guys to stay here in the village. Make sure no one gets hurt, unless it's from inside the village. Stoick will give you orders and you guys have to follow them, even if you don't understand exactly what he means," I said to them.

The female who had helped me that first day, Swift, bowed her head, clearly distressed at my orders. "But Leader, what if something happens to you?" she asked. The others quipped "yeah" but otherwise stayed silent.

"I'm not the only hunter the village has, but I am it's most valued," I said. "I'm going on a private hunting trip, as a way of thanking Hiccup and Stoick for their help. They had to pay for your harnesses and stinger covers."

They pouted, but did as ordered.

I was in the woods ten minutes, stalking a deer. Both Hiccup and Stoick loved deer, so I knew if I brought it down, they'd be satisfied. I pounced and tackled the deer. It wheezed out a cry for help, but it was too late. I sank my claws in and kept a firm grip as it suffocated. When it finally died, I started dragging it back through the brush to the village. I almost gave up halfway, but then Swift and a couple others appeared. I was mildly annoyed that they had disobeyed my orders, but also relieved that they were there to help.

"Okay, help me carry this back to the village, but make sure you don't damage the legs. I've got special plans for them," I said. They picked my kill up and helped me carry it back to the village. I wrote a note to the butcher and asked him to spare me a leg, the least damaged one preferably. He gave it to me and I carried it back to the house. I opened the door and dropped the leg in front of Stoick, who was starting to doze at the fireplace. He jumped slightly when I opened the door, but thankfully kept his ax sheathed. 

"Tiger, you brought a leg of venison for Hiccup and I?" he said. I bobbed my head in a nod. He ruffled my fur and gave me a rough hug. "Thank you, you old flea bag." I licked his face when he said that. He always called me a flea bag when he was in a good mood. Pest when he was in a bad mood. Hiccup came in, followed by Toothless. "Son, I think you should spend some more time with Tiger. He misses you." I looked at Stoick in confusion, but his face had turned into a mask of unreadable hardness.

"Alright, Dad. When I get back from flying with Toothless tomorrow, I'll spend time with him," he said. I felt a bit hurt that he was basically abandoning me, but I didn't want to seem whiney.

"I guess he's playing favorites," I mumbled. Toothless laughed at me, making me grateful that the Stingers were outside.

"Listen, Furball," he said. His tone wasn't hostile, but it wasn't the friendliest. "Hiccup's my rider, and he'll always be mine. He's outgrowing you, kid. Someday you'll be just another rag for him to change."

"That's not true!" I bellowed. I clapped a paw over my mouth when Swift came in.

"Sir! I heard a disturbance here. What's the matter?" she said.

"It's nothing, Swift. Don't worry about it," I said. 

"Are you sure?" she asked.

"Positive. Now go wait with the others. I'll be out soon to assign each of you to homes. You'll all be delivering messages for the village," I said. "And packages, if you can carry the weight."

She nodded before leaving. I closed the door behind her. I turned to Toothless, pain evident in my eyes and on my face. "Hiccup will never outgrow me," I said. "We've been there for each other through thick and thin. He'd never abandon me."

"Are you sure?" he asked. Before I could respond, Stoick stood and beckoned for me to follow him. He left the house, and I followed.

He went a short distance before sitting on a log behind the house. He patted the spot beside him and I sat down next to him. "What's eating you, Tiger? I haven't seen you this way ever," he said after a while. 

I pulled out my notebook and pencil. Squinting in the darkening light I wrote four words that on their own mean little, but together mean the world: Hiccup outgrow me someday.

"What makes you say that?" he asked when he managed to decipher my writing in the dim light.

Underneath the message I wrote, Dragon said so. He's right.

Stoick crossed out "right" and put "wrong."

"I don't know who told you that folley, but they're lying. Hiccup will never outgrow you, TIger. You can't outgrow someone you love," he said to me. He put the journal down on his other side and picked me up in a near-strangling hug. It felt so good.

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Chapter 33

Hiccup shook me awake the next day. I had been having a nightmare of being left behind in a storm, so him shaking me intensified the dream. I woke up and screamed in fear, hair standing on end.

Toothless barked a laugh. "Scaredy cat!" he teased. I cut him a glare. I was trembling still recovering from the terrifying images. Hiccup held out a hand, letting me smell him and calm down. I rubbed against him and lay down, heart still racing.

"Sh...Easy, Tiger. It was just a nightmare," he soothed. I purred, helping myself calm down as he brushed me. He put his arms around me as best he could...and then we both fell off the bed because he leaned too far over. He knew it was his fault. "Oops. Sorry."

I licked his cheek so he knew I was alright. I stretched and prepared for a day of hunting. I trotted into the forest and got ready to start hunting. I jumped into a brook to wake up and caught a fish for breakfast.

I was just finishing when I turned and realized I had a shadow. I sniffed as the wind changed direction. I stalked forward and pounced through a bush that was obscuring my vision.

"Hiccup?" I said. I'd been about to rip his throat out.

"Hey, Tiger. Good to see you. I told you I'd spend some time with you today," he said. I got off him, a little nervous now. I crouched slightly so he could get on my back. I tried to carry him, but his legs were getting too long and his feet dragged. He sighed and dismounted me. "I guess I'm getting too big for you, huh?" His words echoed in my mind. I looked at him in horror, my stomach lurching sickeningly at the thought of losing my first friend.

No. Please don't leave me! The words I screamed in my dream came back to me. My ears went down and so did my tail. Hiccup pulled me in for a hug, but I struggled free. I pelted into the woods before he could get to his feet.

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Stoick and Hiccup found me three hours later.

"TIger! Where are you?!" I heard him call. I curled even tighter into a ball. The cave I had chosen was well off the beaten path. The only way to get to it was by dragon or climbing a treacherous cliff.

They landed their dragons at the mouth of my cave. I sneezed when the wind from their wings blew some dust up my nose.

"Tiger!" Hiccup cried running up to me. I shied away from his hand. "What's the matter, buddy? It's me, Hiccup. Remember?"

"A dragon told him you were outgrowing him. He's not very happy about that," Stoick said.

Hiccup looked back at him in shock. "How do you know that, Dad?" he asked.

"He wrote it for me," he replied.

"Oh, Tiger," Hiccup said, trying once again to pet me. "I could never outgrow you. You're my cuddle buddy! My fuzzy companion. My fluffy protector." I peeked out at him. "C'mere, Tiger. I'm sorry for spending so much time with Toothless. Is that why you ran away from me?" I nodded slightly. I felt him put a hand on my back leg, the only part he could reach. I licked his hand, then set my chin back down on my front paws. Toothless curled up and created a circle with his body before coming over and nudging Hiccup over to where he was. I squeezed my eyes closed, knowing that if I'd been born human I would be crying so hard it would drown the world in my tears.

Ten minutes later, he snuck away from Toothless, who was fast asleep. He came over to the corner I was in. I heard him shivering, his teeth chattering. I crawled out of my hole and nuzzled around him, warming him with my body. He hugged me closely, and I heard him give a small sniff. I pulled back slightly to look at him properly. In the moonlight that was filtering through the cave opening I could see the telltale shine of tears on his cheeks. I licked them away and purred comfortingly. I dashed out and grabbed some rocks that had baked in the sun all day. I brought them back to him, arranging them so that the heat would keep him alive throughout the night. He lay down, putting his head on my side. I felt better knowing that no matter what Hiccup loved me. I set my chin on his side and we both fell asleep to the sound of the wind whistling through the trees not far below.

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Chapter 34

((Guess what?...Another time skip! Hiccup: 20. Tiger: 15.))

i sneezed, startling Hiccup, Toothless and I out of our dreams. Hiccup leaned over the bed and looked at me strangely. I'd taken to sleeping downstairs because my joints were getting sore from use.

"Bless you," he said. I licked my nose and purred a greeting. 

"Morning, furball," Toothless said to me. I heaved myself to my feet then crossed my back legs slightly, trying to keep from soiling myself in the house. Seeing my expression, Hiccup ran downstairs and threw open the door for me. I made a beeline outside and barely made it onto the grass before the floodgates opened up. 

"Ah....." I said. Hiccup laughed as he saw me not far from the house. I hadn't had time to get to my bushes, instead doing my duties just off the stairs. Stoick came out not long after and Hiccup went back inside. After bidding me good morning, his father followed him. I finished my business and trotted to the bushes to do my other job. I returned to the house and got kicked in there snout by a metal leg as Hiccup ran out of the house like it was on fire. I sniffed after recovering and couldn't detect smoke or danger so I just assumed it was more family drama. Biscuit, the Speedstinger assigned to our home, ran up to Stoick not long after. He petted her a bit then gave her a message, which she ran up to Gothi's.

I slipped into my harness then began to drag the cart into the forest. It was old and rickety, like me, but still reliable and serviceable. I struggled out of the harness when I started hunting. By noon I had brought down my usual haul and a half. My ears pricked up towards the village when a horn sounded. I threw another rabbit onto the pile and pulled the cart to town. I dropped the load off and ran to find Stoick. I found him and Hiccup both in the Dragon Cave. They call it the Hangar, which is quite confusing as none of the dragons sleep hanging, but it's their way so I haven't argued with it.

"Dad, what is going on? Why are you freaking out?" Hiccup said to his father. Stoick turned to him and put his hands on his son's shoulders.

"Because Drago Bludvist is a madman," he hissed. I knew of Bludvist from rumors on the wing. An orphan like myself, he had sworn revenge against the dragons...by hurting people who stood between him and all dragons. It made no sense to anyone who heard it, and often made me chuckle when I thought about it.

I scrambled around as dragons in all shapes and sizes jostled around being put back in their pens. I tore off for an alcove when a Gronckle stepped on my tail. I screamed then bolted. By the time I looked up Stoick was chasing after Hiccup with the others. I sighed then dragged my sore tail and wounded pride back to the house. Once there I picked up a feather duster in my mouth and began sweeping the table, chairs, and around the fireplace with a broom attachment that Gobber had made for me and Hiccup adapted. I opened the door and swept the dirt out when I finished, then switched to a bucket of warm, soapy water and changed out my prosthetic again, this time to a scrubber brush. I used it to wash the floors, even upstairs where Hiccup, Toothless, and I slept. 

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Chapter 35

Once I finished cleaning, I fluffed Hiccup’s pillows and headed downstairs for some much needed sleep. 

When I woke up at dawn the next day, I headed outside because something was telling me something was wrong. All the dragons in the village were gathered over the head of a dragon that quite frankly looked like a porcupine crossed with a Gronckle. That sight in and of itself wasn't nearly as terrifying as what the dragons were saying: “ALL HAIL THE ALPHA!” 

I shivered, my eyes scanning the flock instinctively. They lit on the dragon closest to me and my heart leapt to my throat. 

“Toothless?” I said. Then the man riding him spoke. 

“Your chief, is DEAD!” He roared. Any quieter and he would be fluent in Dragon and Jaguar. “Nothing can save you now.” 

Something about Toothless’ voice caught my ear. He faltered slightly when the man riding him said “dead.” 

“All h-hail the Alpha,” he said. 

He’s fighting for control over his own body and mind! I realized. I decided to help him a touch. I reached down inside of myself and brought up a challenge that dwarfed the one I had screamed at him before.  

“Get rid of that lint fleck,” the Alpha said bored. 

I bit my tongue, keeping my opinions to myself. My challenge worked and Toothless followed me. I ran into the forest and leapt up, snagging a treetop again. I dragged it down and waited. I reused my other tactic that had chased him off. He seemed to understand and flew toward me, right into my trap. I released the bark and tucked aside as the tree slammed into Toothless’ face, knocking him out of the sky and his passenger. I ran up to Toothless and swatted him on he head with my claws sheathed. 

Wh-wha? Tiger! Thank Gertkura and Thor! ThBewilderbeest is powerful. You need to help me,” he said to me as he came out of the mind control. 

“Gladly,” I said. I jumped up into his saddle, fighting the nerves that made my stomach do somersaults.  

Get off that dragon, pest,” the tall, bulky man said. I dug my claws in and snapped at him when he swung at me and I leaped over the pointy stick. He tried four more times to get me off, but to no avail. Finally he waved me off. I made room for him, just to keep up appearances. We rose in the air and flew back towards town. Toothless was significantly smoother this time, knowing I wasn't comfortable in the air.  

Toothless explained to me what had happened, and I asked, “Did you have a choice?” 

“No. I tried to stop myself, but I've never dealt with that before. I need you to help me get back to Hiccup,” said he.  A slight shudder ran through him and I swatted his back with my claws out. He stiffened but didn't complain. When we were over the village I crept up Toothless’ back to just behind the man riding him. We were over the tusk of the dragon that Toothless told me was called a Bewilderbeest when I decided to act. I sank my fangs into the man’s leg. 

He screamed and cursed, but was caught off guard so I just tipped him off the edge of the saddle. He landed with a huff on the tusk, while Toothless and I fell screaming from fear. I soiled  myself from fright, but managed to mimic what I’d seen Hiccup do many times when he was riding him. I put my right back paw in the pedal and pressed it. Then used my left paw to move the metal rod forward while my front left paw gripped the handle of something and pulled it closer to me. I heard the telltale click of the tail fin working, then closed my eyes to suppress a gag. Toothless and I flew around a bit, me hitting him when necessary. That stopped when the Bewilderbeest whirled around, hitting us with his tail and sending us careening off into the mist. I howled in fear, then turned my ear towards a distant sound. I glanced down at Toothless and he looked up at me. 

“Did you hear that?” we asked at the same time. 

“Let's go check it out,” I suggested. He seemed a bit nervous, but we did. Several figures emerged from the fog, one of which we both recognized. “Hiccup!” 

“Tiger?” Hiccup asked. He’d recognized my growl. “Toothless?! How-? What-? AfdheHuh???” 

We both laughed. A sudden pocket of empty air caught us off guard and we fell a bit, making both of us give a yelp. Hiccup jumped onto Toothless’ back and I gladly inched back for him. 

“Err… Sorry for the mess,” I said to him. “I got scared.” I said this in response to him curling his nose slightly. 

He turned around and scratched head. He seemed to know and understand that I had a weak bladder when I was afraid“Thank you, Tiger, for getting Toothless back,” he said. I rubbed against him. 

We banked and headed back for Berk. Twice on the way back I yelped and latched onto Hiccup. My stomach gurgled and I leaned over Toothless’ side. Licking my lips when I had finished I rested my head on Hiccup’s peg leg and groaned. He put a comforting hand on my head. I sighed with relief when we drew close to Berk. I swatted Toothless again when he started to become brainwashed again. 

Hey! Tiger that was mean. Say sorry,” he ordered. I shook my head. He shifted and I lost my balance. I screeched as I fell from Toothless’ back. I hit an ice structure the Bewilderbeest had made. I slid down the flow and skidded to a halt at the edge of the main square. I got to my feet and bolted to the front of the village. 

Tiger!” Hiccup called.  

“You okay, fluff?” Toothless yelled. I nodded exaggeratedly so they could see I was okay. 

Fine! You two take care of them! I'll keep the villagers back!” I told them. Toothless nodded and flew off into battle again. I began pacing back and forth in front of the villagers, driving them back. Once they were about fifty feet back something heavy fell to the ground behind me. I whipped around, expecting to see Hiccup and Toothless on the ground. They skidded to a halt as they landed, sending up a dust cloud. I stalked toward the dark man who heaved himself off the ground. 

Hold him there, Toothless. It’s all over now,” Hiccup said. Toothless growled an affirmative. 

Or is it?” the dark man asked. I yelped when the Bewilderbeest breathed a column of ice at Hiccup and Toothless. I ran up to it and began digging at the ice. 

“No! Hiccup, Toothless! Not now! Not after everything we’ve been through!” I roared pleadingly. A woman landed beside me and began beating at the ice herself. She was a stranger, but seemed to care about him very much. I later learned her name was Valka and that she was Hiccup’s mother. A glow began to shine through the ice and instinctively I herded the woman back. I covered my face and ears with a paw when it exploded. Toothless was curled around Hiccup, protecting him from the ice. Dumbfounded I gawked at Toothless, whose back was glowing like Arvendale’s Fire. 

He screamed a stream of profanities at the Bewilderbeest. Once again I was grateful that no one else could understand Dragon. Hiccup backed away on his hands and feet, and got to his feet with some assistance. He scratched me and I used my notebook and pencil to write him a note.

Toothless asked me to hit him. Helped him stay free.

"Odd," Hiccup said. I rubbed against his legs, thankful that he was alright.

 

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Chapter 36

I was struck by the sudden urge to use the bushes, so I trotted off towards them. Unfortunately that put me at the mercy of the tall dark man, who I later learned was the famed Drago Bludvist. He seized the opportunity to get back at me for biting his leg. I didn't notice until it was too late. His spear entered my side, and exited before I had time to react. Astrid screamed in horror. Hiccup and Toothless had begun pelting the Bewilderbeest with plasmic attacks. Biscuit bolted to my side, along with the rest of the Stingers.

"You won't get away with this!" she shrieked. Drago ran up the Bewilderbeest's tusk and took shelter behind one of the head quills. My flock tried to follow but I coughed.

"No! Don't! The Bewilderbeest is about to surrender and dive," I wheezed. I coughed up a lungful of blood. Not long after they gathered around me, I blacked out. I was certain that this time, I was a goner. My vision was black, but suddenly there was a soft white light, and I felt such a comforting sensation of peace. A quiet voice spoke.

"Not yet," it said softly.

I felt myself thrown back into my body. I jerked in alarm, then screamed as pain exploded in my side. Hiccup had me in his arms. My blood was soaking into the ground. I saw a primal fear in his eyes.

"Hang in there, Tiger. We'll get you fixed up," he said. There were tears in his eyes. Gothi came into my field of view. She looked at my wound, causing a few whines when she touched the open wound.

"She says that he'll live. If he'd been hit any lower, he'd have been dead by now," Gobber said.

She made a bunch of gestures and three of her dragons flew off. I didn't know where they went, and frankly I was too preoccupied with focusing on just breathing to care. I lay my head down on Hiccup's knee and closed my eyes, forcing myself to breath in, hold for a few seconds, then let it out. In, hold, out. In, hold, out.

Hiccup picked me up and carried me to the house. He was trying not to hurt me, but every time he stepped on his peg leg, I winced slightly. He set me down on the nest of furs and kissed my head. There were tears on his cheeks now. He lay on his side, propping himself up on his elbow as he pet me. He sniffed before saying, "I already lost Dad, I can't lose you too, TIger." I licked his hand and he pulled me close for a gentle hug.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A few weeks later, I had recovered enough. I stood up and walked out the door. Hiccup had ordered Biscuit to hover around me.

"Biscuit," I said when she stood up with me. "I don't need any help. I feel fine."

"Alright, Leader. But remember, Chief Hiccup told me to keep an eye on you, including following you around," she said. I sighed.

"I know," I mumbled. "He's going to have to let me have some freedom though. The village needs the food. I'm going hunting. I made sure that Gobber added the harness straps. C'mon. We'll go hunting together."

"Are you sure you're up to it, sir? What about your wound? Isn't it-?" I cut her off.

"It's fine. If I'm cooped up in this house any longer I'm going to go insane," I snapped. I felt bad immediately. "Sorry. See how it's affecting me?" She nodded. "This is why I need to go hunting today."

"Alright, sir. I know of a small cart that's just the right size for me. I'll retrieve it and be back in a flash," she said. She leaned over and groomed me. "Hold tight."

I sighed as she left. I nudged the door open and headed outside. I stretched and looked back where I'd been wounded. Very little remained save a small cut and an embarassing bald patch as big as Toothless' paw. I knew this as fact because he'd scratched around it for me at my request. He'd set his paw directly over it and used his claw tips to scratch the itch. After that he'd curled up around me and laid a wing over me protectively. We'd gotten past the "Hiccup's outgrowing you" thing fairly quickly. He'd been young and inexperienced, and I'd been sensitive.

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Chapter 37

I crouched and got ready to spring. A rabbit wouldn't be an issue for me. I brought it down and picked it up. I carried it maybe ten feet before Biscuit found me.

"Oh, thank, Scorpion! Tiger, we were worried about you!" she scolded. I rolled my eyes. I couldn't respond for the animal in my mouth.

I set it down on the cart that she had with her. I licked my lips as I turned to her. "Sorry, I just couldn't stand being cooped up for one moment longer. It was killing me to be stuck there," I said to her. She zipped up to me, dropping the cart in the process. She put her muzzle under my chin and nuzzled me.

"Hiccup is worried sick about you," she said quietly. "You really should be resting."

"I'm fine, Biscuit. He needs to learn that I recover fairly quickly. I got really sick once when I was young and was able to bring down a boar, a strong one too, only two weeks after I got over the illness," I replied. I used my tongue and groomed her. "Thank you for your concern, though."

She relaxed. She hitched herself up to the cart again and said, "I'll wait here for you. If you need me, call." I smiled and headed back into the forest to hunt. 

Six rabbits and an injured deer later I called for Biscuit because I wouldn't be able to carry it all to the cart. She helped me load it and we headed back to the village.

Hiccup was pacing and running his hands through his hair. Toothless was watching him with a bemused expression, as though finding it funny that his rider and our best friend was worried about me. He sighed and lay his head down on his paws.

Toothless knew I wasn't in any real danger I couldn't handle. He knew that in spite of my age I was still strong and skilled, and my injury wasn't going to hold me back. He glanced over when I yawned, and Hiccup followed his gaze.

"Tiger!" Hiccup cried running up to me. Just before he reached me he hit his knees and wrapped me in his arms. "Do you have any idea how worried I've been? I couldn't find you anywhere! Don't you dare do that again, and what is Biscuit dragging...? Oh." He sobered up when he realized I had been hunting. I pulled out my journal and pencil.

He helped me by flipping it open to a fresh page. I picked up the pencil by the wrong end and hissed and spat in disgust. He leaned back in alarm as I picked up and chewed rocks, dirt, and grass in a vain attempt to get the taste out of my mouth. I gagged and he had to physically restrain me and prize my jaws apart to wipe the offending material out of my mouth. I settled down and licked my curled lips and wrinkled nose. He laughed and ruffled my head. He handed me his pencil and I picked it up. I wasn't used to his pencil, so I had to write extra big.

Sorry for scaring ysu. Hate bfng cooped up in house. Feels like cage. I wrote. He looked at me quizzically. I set the pencil down and looked at him. He picked it up and wrote, "Sorry for scaring you? Hate being cooped up in house? Feels like cage?" I nodded.

"Oh, Tiger. I'm sorry for making you feel like you were cooped up. I was just trying to help you feel and get better," he said. I purred and nuzzled him.

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Chapter 38

After helping Biscuit drop off my kills and get out of the cart, we all went home. She lay down in a basket we had commissioned for all the Speedstingers, and I joined Hiccup and Toothless upstairs. I curled up next to Toothless, who happily made room for me. Hiccup decided to join us, so he came over and lay his blanket down so he wouldn't be sleeping on the bare rock. He lay his head on my side and lay a hand on Toothless' paw, draping his arm over my front paws. I sighed as he fell asleep, feeling content. I lay my head down and fell asleep, joining them in dream world.

((Time skip! Hiccup: 21. Tiger: 16.))

A year later, I knew my days were numbered, but I didn't know how many I had. I decided to write down everything I knew in a letter. I rummaged around in a pile of scrolls until I found an empty one, then snuck it back to my sleeping nook, which Hiccup had moved to the ground floor, trying to make life easier for me. He'd seen me fall down the stairs one too many times. 

"What're you working on, Tiger?" Toothless asked me one day. I looked up at him in surprise. He was the only one awake in the house, so I didn't worry as much.

"Just working on a letter for Hiccup to open when I die," I said. He came over and I read it to him.

"This is just incredible, Tiger, but I don't think you're going to hideany time soon. You've still got some moons left in you," he said to me. He nudged me gently and I set my writing utensil down before hiding the letter in the fur nest. I rubbed against him and headed out to use the bushes again.

"Well, I know from what my mother told me that most jaguars live only fifteen summers at most, but I've lasted sixteen. I promised the Goddess that I would look after Hiccup and protect him till my dying breath," I said to him when I returned. He closed the door behind me. "That means that my life could end at any moment. I just want to be ready, so that Hiccup will have some reminder of me aside from some memories, which could fade in a moment."

"Wow," he said. I lay down and moved over when he joined me in the nest. I lay my head on his paw and he put his nose in my ear. I flicked it when he breathed out. His breath tickled my ear. I yawned, then groomed him and we both fell asleep.

((Sorry for the inconsistant lengths, everyone!))

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Joined: 05/15/2014
Chapter 39

((Another Timeskip! Hiccup: 22. Tiger: 17.))

((WARNING! GET Tissues ready!))

I looked up briefly as a small group of people entered the house. Hiccup was sitting in his father’s chair with Toothless curled around it. He looked up and met my eyes. I lay my head back down and began to doze. My ears unconsciously swiveled to pick up the cadence of Hiccup’s voice, a habit I’d gotten into when I was younger and recovering from my illness.

I’ll tell you the rest tomorrow. It’s getting late,” Hiccup said.

“Awwh!” the group chorused in unison. I licked my teeth and fell asleep as they left. Hiccup came over and knelt beside me.

“Well, old Buddy. Looks like we have some time to spend together. Toothless and I went flying earlier, so we got that out of our system,” he said stroking me. He sat down and pulled my head and chest into his lap. He picked up a soft bristled brush and brushed my fur. I lifted my head and nuzzled him gently before falling back to sleep. I woke up when he retired upstairs, with Toothless following shortly thereafter. Valka came home, had a late supper, and then went to bed. I pulled out the letter and made some more notes before signing it. I looked down at what I had written. I sighed. It was finished, at long last.

The next morning I woke up as the group returned. They all sat down and listened as Hiccup began to tell my tale from where he’d left off. He was just telling them about how Toothless and I flew into battle together against the Bewilderbeest when I fell back to sleep. I heard the faint rustle of paper crinkling under my chin. Toothless heard it too and looked up. When I woke up, I knew it was time. The group was leaving, so I scraped the furs away from the letter, picked it up in my teeth, and carried it over to Hiccup. He took it from my hand and ruffled my ears. I lay down at his feet, with my chin on his boot, and let my mind go blank. Night enveloped my vision. My mother sniffed me, and then called me through the black. The darkness was pierced by a sudden light, and I woke up in the Meadow.

I heard an agonized cry and ran over to a puddle. I peered into the depths and Hiccup’s image appeared slowly. He was cradling my body, rocking slightly as tears raced down his cheeks. Toothless sniffed me, then moved the chair out of the way.

“Tiger! No,” Hiccup wailed. He bent over my body and wept bitterly, heart wrenching sobs wracking his body until it seemed he wouldn’t be able to stop crying. Toothless licked my head, as though thinking it would help me wake up, but it did nothing except leave a wet patch of fur on my head. My savior held me close and his tears soaked into my pelt. Valka and Astrid ran in when they heard him scream. They knelt on either side of him and put their arms around him. There wasn’t much else they could do, however.

A few hours later, my body floated on a boat not far off Berk’s Southern shore. I’d been placed on a funeral pyre with a cloak draped over me along with the blanket I’d slept with when I was a cub. A few more objects I used daily were set with me, and my fake paw was sitting directly over my heart. Hiccup shot a flaming arrow into the pyre from the beach. A team of archers followed suit.

Hiccup walked to the water’s edge and stared at my ship, tears stinging his eyes. He worked his jaw a bit before being able to speak, “I’m sorry, Tiger. I should have spent more time with you. I-I guess I just thought I’d always have you.” His words hit me hard. “I love you, Tiger, and I’ll miss you.

Toothless joined him next. “Good luck, kid. If you see Stoick, tell him I’m sorry for what I did,” he said. He was saddened too, but as with all dragons, no tears flowed from his eyes. My Stingers were standing atop a cliff, watching from a distance. They bowed and lowered their stingers, which I recognized as their sign of ultimate respect.

A familiar scent caught my nose, and I looked up from the puddle. Stoick was standing not far away, looking shocked to see me.

“Stoick!” I cried running up to him.

“How in Thor’s Name can I understand you?” he demanded.

“We’re both dead, there’s no language barrier here in the Meadow. Nothing here but peace, and freedom. Oh, and love, too,” I said.

“How’s Hiccup?” he asked after nodding for a bit.

“He’s sad because I just died at his feet, but other than that I think he’ll be okay,” I answered. Stoick knelt next to me and I put my paws on his shoulders, giving him a hug. “He misses you, y’know. He talks about you in his sleep.”

Stoick sighed. “I know,” he said. “Freya showed me how my death has affected him. But it was either him or me, and I couldn’t let my son die.”

“I understand. He might not have been my son, but I couldn’t rest easy knowing that I hadn’t been there to keep a closer eye on him when that bear attacked,” I said.

“No one could have predicted that he’d get hurt, Tiger, so don’t blame yourself,” he said to me.

“Oh, and Toothless says he’s sorry for what happened,” I said suddenly, remembering what Toothless had asked me.

“It wasn’t his fault,” he grumbled. “It was that thrice-accursed Bewilderbeest and his demented master.”

“Bludvist. Hm, his blood tasted kinda good when I bit him,” I said. I realized what I’d said and backtracked quickly. “Not was it seems, Stoick. He was riding Toothless and I bit his leg to get him off Toothless. Then I flew on Hiccup’s dragon, and boy was that a ride.” I said this last bit sarcastically.

He laughed and patted my back. We walked over to the puddle and looked into it together. Hiccup was sitting on the edge of his bed and looking at the letter.

“Bye, Tiger,” he whispered. "I'll miss you."

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Joined: 10/16/2013
Tracking(:

Tracking(:

__________________
  "Everything will be ok in the end. If it's not ok, then it's not the end."
 -John Lennon         

 

  My Threads/Links:  

     (Rashel Bouncie by NovaNat) (Violet Bouncie by Scoubidous)

Art Streaming - Stream Status

Nessie's NEW art thread  Nessie's Tutorials   Nessie's old Art  Nessie's Adoptables  Nessie's Gifs  Nessie's SoD Map   Nessie's Glitch Cave Guide   Nessie's Vikings Templates    Nessie's Comics  Nessie's Sketchbook   Nessie's Fanfiction: "The Dark Secret"  Nessie's Blog  DeviantArt  Soundcloud  Facebook  Steam  The Life of Ashley Sorethon(Tumblr)  Nessie's Art (Tumblr)  Kik  Squiby 

      

       

Blinkies:

Night Fury - Nadder - Woolly Howl - Changewing - Skrill 

Terrible Terror - Speed Stinger - Sand Wraith  

  

  

      (Drawings of Ashley and Rashel By Pixel )                                                                                                                                                                     

                                          

( By Hattori )                                               My Main characters                                             

                                     Megan, Ashley, and Neoma                                      Ashley   ----  Rashel                                Ultra Violet                                                        

                

(By Nightmarerebuff)                      (Yes, I got the idea from other people, it is not my own idea.)                                                                                                  

   

                                                                                                                                                                    (By Defy)                                                 (By Defy)                                                                         

                                 
                   

(Ashley Chibi by hattori )

 

 

(Slideshows above by various artists) (Below by Frytha)

 

Alice Sorethon  Ashley Sorethon  Ethera Sorethon  Kent Sorethon  Maggie Sorethon 

Maybel Sorethon  Rashel Sorethon  Sage Sorethon  Samuel Sorethon  Iris (Kayline) Sorethon

(Above by Hattori )

 

Cedrick

  Age: 52

  Relationship Status: Married to Sarah

  Personality: Strong, Brave, caring, wants what’s best for his family, also a hard worker.

  Other: Chief of the Sorethon clan. 

Main Dragon: Gale

   Species: Skrill

   Personality: The chief of the Sorethon dragons, so strict, but caring

 

Sarah

  Age: 50

  Relationship Status: Married to Cedrick

  Personality: Also known as “Mother Sorethon” Has all the best characteristics of a Mother. The Sorethon clan is very important to her.

Main Dragon: Venus

   Species: Gronckle

   Personality: Loving and caring

 

Ethera

Age: 23

  Relationship Status: Married to Shadow

  Personality: Very competitive, a great warrior, uses brawn before brain in battle, but uses great battle tactics.

  Other: Spends most of the time in the training arena. Got expelled from school for murder.

Main Dragon: Comet

   Species: Monstrous Nightmare

   Personality: Stubborn, loves training.

 

 

Ashley

Age: 19

  Relationship Status: Widow - Tragically lost her love

  Personality: Athletic, loving, caring, stands up for her friends always. Takes the lead, but is polite and respectful to others

  Other: Adopted by the Sorethon’s after her parents died. At that time Ashley was best friends with Rashel, and thought of the Sorethon’s of her “second family"

Main Dragon: Megan

   Species: Deadly Nadder

   Personality: Loves speed flying and chicken eggs. Leader of Ashley’s dragons. Married to Sharpflame with 3 kids

 

    

Rashel (My Main Viking)

Age: 19

  Personality:  Loves and cares for everyone, very cheerful, loves art, a bit cautious, but loves exploring,

  Other: Job:  Crafts/Invents furniture and other housefly items

Main Dragon: Ultra Violet

   Species: Night Fury

   Personality: Loves to help, always at Rashel’s side. Not picky or stubborn, and has a great sense of humor and love

 

Viky

  Age: 12

  Personality: Loves to explore, draw, and hang out with friends.

Main Dragon: Mya

   Species: Deadly Nadder

   Personality: Loves to have fun, and pretty protective of anyone that encounters Viky. Of coarse, with the exception of her friends.

 

Isabella

  Age: 9

  Personality: Loves to map and create charts of the ocean. Can be a troublemaker at times.

  Other: Her parent’s were killed in a Dagur ambush, and was adopted by the Sorethons

Main Dragon: Anna

   Species: Thunderdrum

   Personality: Loves flying, never wants to touch the ground.

 

Samuel

Age: 36

  Relationship Status:  Married - Married to Kate

  Personality: Very stubborn and strict, expects everyone to put forth their best

  Other: Is next in line to rule over the Sorethon Clan

Main Dragon: Der & Rick 

   Species: Zippleback

   Personality: Stubborn but a hard worker if they put their minds together

 

 

Kate

  Age: 34

  Relationship Status: Married -  Married to Samuel

  Personality: After she lost one of her twins daughters, she dedicated her life to the practice of healing

  Other: Head Healer of Sorethon dragons and vikings 

Main Dragon: Ericka

   Species: Hobblegrunt

   Personality: Helps everyone and loves everyone

 

 

Kent

  Age: 14

  Relationship Status:  Currently dating a recently found, long lost best friend, Iris Kayline

  Personality: Sensitive, loves to sketch and spend time outside in the woods, doesn’t try in school, and is a bit lazy

  Other: Spends a lot of time with Iris at the Isle of Night

Main Dragon: Dalin

   Species: Deadly Nadder

   Personality: Lazy, but very alert and protective when it comes to caring for Kent

 

Maybel

  Age: 12

  Personality: Born for pranking. Takes part in the Trouble Makers Clan, makes a great team with her twin sister.

  Other: Found her thought to be dead, twin sister and her chagewing, they got together and saw how great of a team they are. But Maybelle wanted to stay away from Berk, and stay back with her Changewing pack. 

Main Dragon: Kora

   Species: Thunderdrum 

   Personality: Really quiet and agile for a thunderdrum. Really good at pulling away Maybel from the scene of action.

 

Maybelle

  Age: 12

  Personality: Was very sick at birth, and was stolen by a Changewing, leaving everyone to think she died at birth. She was found by her twin Maybel and together makes great pranks. Only a few people know she’s alive. 

  Other: Lives on a classified island with the Changewings that raised her, stays invisible in Berk, never being seen, but in the few cases she has, she looks just like her twin.

Main Dragon: Marissa

   Species: Changewing

   Personality: Very caring, knew what was wrong with baby Maybelle and took her and raised her as her own.

 

           

Maggie

  Age: 8

  Personality: Wants to be a grown up, tries her best to prove herself.

Main Dragon: Zac

   Species: Gronckle

   Personality: loves to play and explore with Maggie

 

Alice

  Age: 15

  Personality: Happy and outgoing, spends all her time exploring with her one and only adorable Nadder.

Main Dragon: Wyler

   Species: Deadly Nadder

   Personality: Extremely adorable behavior, loves and obsesses over shiny things, the only way to draw him away is with brown trout. 

Sage

  Age: 13

  Personality: Dark and violent. Loves spending time in Whispering Death Tunnels. Prefers to be alone.

  Other: Very good at training Whispering Deaths

Main Dragon: Viper

   Species: Whispering Death   Personality: Stays and protects Sage

ADOPTS

(Click dragon to view more about them)

MY fav dragon cave dragons so far:

Lillian Sorethon - Worgen Feral Druid - 110 -  Emerald Dream - <Emerald Dragon Riders>

 Helix - Heart of the Aspects --- Skyler - Twilight Drake --- Rusty - Bronze Drake --- Charcoal - Blake Drake

Jorus - Cobalt Netherwing Drake --- Malfas - Purple Netherwing Drake --- Onyxien - Onyx Netherwing Drake

Sauraku - Azure Netherwing Drake --- Voranaku -  Violet Netherwing Drake --- Zoya - Veridian Netherwing Drake 

Frostbite - Nexus Whelpling --- Ember - Crimson Whelpling --- DeathSpark - Infinite Whelpling --- Draco - Celestial Dragon

Blizzard - Albino Chimaeraling

Dragonqueens-Dragon Queen Sorethon

   

SNOW LEOPARDS CLAN

       

               

                  
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Chapter 40-Epilogue

Hiccup,

 

No words could describe how grateful I am to have shared my life with you. And now, looking back on my youth, knowing my time grows increasingly shorter with each passing breath, I can only hope I can pass on the bit of knowledge I have gained to you, as I have no offspring to share it with:

 

There is only so much time you have with someone, and you never know how much time there will be, so cherish each breath, each moment. When Stoick passed away, I was thankful that he had made you, for it was you who saved my life when I was only a cub. From that day on, I swore I would protect you, and I have kept that promise to the best of my abilities. There were unfortunately, a few times when I could not be there to keep you safe, so I made Toothless swear to protect you, especially after you lost your leg under his care. I was so angry, because if I’d been there, I would have fought to my dying breath to keep you alive and whole. Also, to tie this up, if you love someone, tell them, because you never know when they will die.

 

Never let your anger cloud your judgement. This is something my mother told me. So far I’ve been able to keep that little morsel and it’s been a wonderful life since then. You can’t change who people are, you can’t change their personalities, so you’ll always find that one person who you just can’t stand to even share the air with, but you learn to live with them anyways. The gods and goddesses put us on this crazy planet together for a reason, so give them a reason to appreciate their creation.

 

For every bad thing, try to think of at least one good thing in every situation. I know I’ve not got much time left, but just know that during my last days here, I didn’t want or need anything that wasn’t already given to me. Also, while my joints may ache, and my breath comes in wheezes, I will always find a way to get up the stairs so I can watch over you while you sleep, and nothing will change that, so don’t try. All I ever needed was your love, which you always gave me freely, and in vast amounts.

 

Finally, always be thankful for what you have, no matter how little. I forgot about this when you and Toothless became a bonded pair. I forgot to look for the good in the situation, instead choosing jealousy over thankfulness. That is why I ran away from you when you tried to spend time with me. That and Toothless also made a mean comment. I’ve forgiven him, though, and know now that it was because he’s a dragon, and I’m a jaguar.

 

If you’re wondering how I managed to write this, though my bones ache with age and my eyesight is horrible, worse in the dim light of the fireplace, it’s because a Terrible Terror is helping me write when I falter. Gothi is watching me write this, and also looking at me to make sure I’m not hurting. You’re sleeping upstairs right now, so I still have a few moments yet.

I’ll leave you off with this: I love you, Hiccup, son of Stoick the Vast. I have loved you from the day you saved me from sinking to a watery grave. To the day my last breath has been drawn, I will love you. By the time you read this, I will have passed on. Do not grieve for me, for I’m not in any pain. I know you loved me as you love Toothless, and your father. Oh, there are so many things I wish I could say to him, but alas, I cannot. If I see him in the Great Meadow, I shall speak to him, as there is no language barrier there. Take heart and comfort knowing that I’m at peace. I shall see you again, someday.

Always remember: once you love someone, they’re never really gone because they live on in your heart, as happy and healthy as you choose them to be. I’ll be watching over you.

 

With love,

Tiger