The old man's nephew looked out the giant observation window into the city. His workers and helpers spewed statistics at him every so often about the amount of steam being released and the last earthquake location. They barely even stopped talking anymore.
He sighed, which only deepened when his uncle burst in and ran to look out through the window at the city. The nephew watched him, disinterested, then said "Uncle, really, you have your own observation deck, what are you-"
"Shhhh. Hear that?" The old man waved his nephew impatiently into silence, and went back to his staring, pressing his large nose to the window to see better.
The nephew looked out at the city, then back at the old man. "Hear what?" Agitated, the old man looks at him for a moment before seeming to make up his mind and rushing over to him, dragging him to his eye level by the collar.
"Listen," he hissed. He looked back out the window, and the nephew unenthusiastically follows his gaze.
"I still don't hear anything," the man pointed out. The sound of earthquakes and releasing steam was pretty constant by now, surely his uncle can't mean that.
"No, no, no, you're not listening! That sound. It's growing."
A roll of the eyes. "The steam released? Yeah, of course it is."
The old man looked back at his nephew. "Don't you know what this means?" When no answer came, he swept a hand over the window's view of Taitle. "My city...it's alive again!"
"Really, uncle, there's been people here all this time, of course it's alive, that's what people do." The old man just gave him an annoyed look.
"Just listen. Or better yet, just look. It's alive. It's all coming back, just like I had hoped. And it's doing it on its own." He clapped his nephew on the shoulder and laughed as he steered the young man to fully face the window. "Just look, my boy. Look at how glorious this city used to be!"
Skeptically entertaining the old man, the nephew looked out the window, still with that same uninterested look. Steam hissed out of the street lines that led to nowhere. Buildings crumbled every now and then because of the earthquakes. The fighters themselves weren't close enough to hear, and the observation dome's chatter was too loud where they were to separate the two. The nephew shook his head and went to point all of this out but his uncle simply grasped his shoulder firmly and pointed out the window himself. Following his gaze, the nephew found a good reason to be interested.
There was another earthquake, louder because it was closer to them, but it wasn't the earthquake or the subsequently ruined buildings that caught his attention. It was the collection of street that had suddenly dislodged itself from the rest, curling upward and taking a fair bit of that city's neighborhood with it, as well as some of the pipes that ran underground. The pipes themselves almost looked like-
"F-fingers?" The nephew's wild eyes followed the hand that was emerging, blinking rapidly and turning back to his uncle as if praying him to deny what he was seeing. But the uncle merely beamed at the curled street and pipes as the pipes themselves began to move harshly like fingers.
"Alive, again," he repeated, turning the nephew's head North to see a small hemisphere of street and a garden, the pipes and tree roots still connected to the ground, but only barely. It had two steam vents on the same horizontal level, releasing the same amount of steam at the same time.
"Like eyes. Eyes and hands," the young man whispered. "Is this going to continue?" he asked his uncle in a hushed tone.
"One can only hope so, my boy!" the old man responded. "This...this is how Taitle should be."
Shakily, the nephew's eyes found the hand once more. Slowly and carefully, accompanied with a lot of earthquakes, the hand was raising an arm to go along with it. Even more steam was being released from that particular sector, and the accompanying earthquakes were throwing a good deal of the buildings there into rubble. After several minutes of being transfixed by this sight, he uttered, "we should reinforce the Viewer's Dome." A set of robots whirled out about their business, and the old man patted his nephew sympathetically on the shoulder before leaving the deck as well, going back to his workspace and the wishing machine, which had been whirring more and more in anticipation of its new and final master.
Hiccup woke to the sunlight streaming through his window. He blinked sleepily at the blurry figure above his head. It took him a second to realize it was Toothless staring down at him with curious eyes. He wondered how long the dragon had been there staring at him. He shrugged the thought aside. He sat up thinking it strange that he had woken up later than normal. It was probably because he spent most of the night in the cove with Astrid.
He blushed thinking about how they had laid together in the grass holding hand and watching the stars. They had talked about the most random things half the night, but it had been great none the less.
It had been about 6 months since they started dating. Astrid was actually the one who had to ask Hiccup out in the end. Every time he went to ask her he had clammed up and get really nervous, so she had saved him the trouble. They both enjoyed going on little outings together. Usually it was to the cove where Hiccup had meet Toothless or long flights on their dragons.
Thinking of the dragons reminded him that he had to go out with everyone and their dragons today. His dad had asked him a few days ago if he and the others could go out and get some fish for the village. The ships had been damaged recently and since winter was so close the village needed more fish to get them though the rough winter that was coming up.
Hiccup dragged himself from his bed and his thoughts. He patted Toothless on the head. "Morning boy. Ready to get to work?" Toothless nodded his head. Hiccup laughed. "Alright then. Lets get going then." He hopped up on Toothless, secured his feet in the stirrups, and took off.
He headed straight for the dragon training arena. Astrid, Snotout, Ruffnut, Tuffnut, and Fishlegs were already there.
Hiccup landed and walked over to the others.
"What took you so long," Snotlout asked giving Hiccup a look of disgust, "We've been waiting here for ages."
"Oh please, Snotlout. You just got here two minutes before he did," Astrid exclaimed.
"Yeah, well it was a very long two minutes," he said indignantly.
"Sorry, I was late guys. I slept in later than usual," Hiccup said apologetically.
"It's okay, Hiccup we understand," Astrid said smiling at him. Then she kissed him on the cheek, "Come on, lets go."
Hiccup blushed and walked over to Toothless. Toothless gave him one of his funny little grins. Hiccup ignored him and hopped on. Everyone else was already on their their dragons.
He and Toothless left the arena and flew upwards with the others right behind him. They flew out toward the sea. It was a perfect day for fishing. The sky was mostly clear and there was only a slight breeze blowing.
They flew out for about two hours or so till they came cross a huge swarm of fish. The sky was a little darker than it had been and the wind was starting to pick up but Hiccup didn't really think any thing about it. They took turns diving toward the water and scooping up large amounts of fish with the baskets they had brought along.
They were almost finished when the storm hit. As they had been fishing the sky had gotten even darker. It had started drizzling and Hiccup had suggested they head back home. But they hadn't gotten far when it started pouring. The wind picked up and the dragons were having a hard time flying. Hiccup could hardly see the others though the rain. He could faintly hear the others trying to say something but to no avail.
Suddenly the wind started blowing violently in different directions. He could hear the others cry out in alarm and he could just barely hear Astrid screaming his name. But there was nothing he could do. He was helpless in a storm like this.
All of a sudden Toothless spun out of control, spiraling toward the water. Hiccup was able to straighten Toothless' tail at the last moment and water sprayed and stung his face. The basket carrying all the fish he had just caught went flying thought the air. Hiccup tried to grab it, but it slipped through his fingers.
He had completely lost the others now. He looked all around but couldn't see much past Toothless. The wind began to take him where ever it pleased. He tried going the direction he assumed home was, but it just tired Toothless out more, trying to fight the wind.
Hiccup started flying upwards to get out of the storm. Lightning flashed across the sky. He was almost there when it started hailing. He tried to continue upward, but the hail was hitting both Toothless and him extremely hard. He changed his course and began zig-zaging everywhere to avoid the hail. It didn't help much. They were pelted endlessly by the hail.
Hours went by. The hail had ended but the storm continued. There seemed to be no end to it. It was pitch black and still pouring. Hiccup finally passed out from exhaustion.
When he finally woke he and Toothless was falling.
Hiccup had been quietly sitting on a barrel near the dock, while Toothless was obviously by his side, like he always was, and the Viking could tell that his black, scaly friend was already getting bored, but he just couldn't leave right now, especially since he knew that Astrid would be arriving on a ship any minute now. Astrid was away for the past week on a fishing trip with her father, and she would have brought Stormfly along to help her out, or at least, to keep her company, but her father flat out refused, saying that no dragons would be included on the trip, most likely because he wanted it to be just family. Hiccup had managed to keep himself super busy while his girlfriend was gone, with looking after her Deadly Nadder, which Astrid thought was giving too much work for Hiccup, especially when he already has a Night Fury to take care of, but he insisted that it was no problem, and she didn't have to worry about it.
There was also his job with being the founder and head dragon trainer for Berk Dragon Academy, and it was pretty hard for Hiccup to concentrate at the arena, considering that he noticed Astrid's absence right away before the sessions had even begun. On the night before she left, the couple spent time alone at the cove, and while they were there, Astrid told Hiccup that she had something very important to tell him, but she somehow changed her mind and decided to wait until she came back from the trip, and that's something which bothered Hiccup a lot lately. Why couldn't Astrid have just told Hiccup instead of having him wait for an entire week to hear whatever it was, and besides, Hiccup couldn't help but think about whether it was good or bad, because Astrid didn't even mention if it was about their relationship or something else.
All of the many thoughts that were currently going around in Hiccup's mind suddenly got interrupted when Toothless began nudging him, as he was trying to tell him that something had caught his attention, and when Hiccup looked up from the ground to see what it was, a smile quickly grew on his face. Not so far in the distance, both Hiccup and Toothless were clearly seeing a ship that was sailing across the sea, and the closer it came to the dock of the island, the more that Hiccup could be able to hear Astrid's voice, calling out his name, and also see her waving to him. Once the ship had finally come into port, Astrid instantly jumped onto the dock, and ran towards Hiccup, who had just got himself off from the barrel, and started walking over to his girlfriend, when she grabbed him and pulled him in for a long embrace.
"Astrid, it's great to have you back home, so how was your fishing trip? I guess that it couldn't have been a lot of fun while not having Stormfly around with you." Hiccup assumed.
"Well, it was definately not fun for me knowing that I couldn't get to bring you and Toothless along, but my father had made it clear, and he kept saying that the trip would really give us a chance to talk, so anyway, speaking of Stormfly, where is she right now?" Astrid asked.
"There's no need to worry, Stormfly's back at your house waiting for you, and I know that it's probably not my business or anything, but what exactly did you and your father talk about, because I remember that you said back in the cove a week ago that there was something very important for you to tell me." Hiccup mentioned.
"Wait a minute, Hiccup, you still don't know about it, because I was sure that your father was going to talk to you right after we returned to the village on that same night." Astrid replied, which had gotten Hiccup thinking for a while before he gave an answer to Astrid.
"I believe that I asked my dad about it just once, and all he said was that the two should wait until you and your father got back from your fishing trip. Oh, and speaking of your father, here he comes right now, so if you don't mind, I'd like to ask him what exactly is it that's so important." Hiccup informed, while turning to approach Astrid's father, Alrick Hofferson.
"Excuse me, Mr. Hofferson, before your daughter left with you on your fishing trip a week ago, I remember she said to me that there was something very important for me to know, but she changed her mind, and never told me, so I was hoping if you could please tell me." Hiccup requested.
"I'm sorry, Hiccup, but we should probably go over to your father's house first before we talk about anything, and you shouldn't have to worry at all because it's actually a good thing that you'll be happy to hear about." Alrick responded, before giving a grin and patting Hiccup on the shoulder.
Hiccup made a long sigh, since he was obviously disappointed that he wasn't going to find out right away, but he was nonetheless glad that he would finally know very soon.
With his best friend, girlfriend, and her father coming along with him, Hiccup reached his house and opened the door to find his father sitting still in a chair near the dinner table, and right when they entered, Stoick got himself off from the chair and walked towards them.
"Alrick, welcome back! It's great to see that you and your daughter made it back to Berk safely, so tell me, how was the fishing trip? Did you get a nice catch of fish while you were far out at sea?" Stoick asked, as he shook Alrick's hand and heavily patted him on the back.
"We weren't so lucky, because it seemed like the fish preferred to hide at the bottom of the ocean, but on the bright side, the trip did give me a chance to discuss with my daughter about a lot of things, and especially...her future." Alrick answered.
Hiccup instantly felt a shudder course throught his entire body right when he heard Astrid's father say those last three words, and he was really getting nervous now, and he could even feel his head vibrating.
"That's good to hear, Alrick, but if you don't mind, I'd like to talk with my son in private, because we didn't really sit down at any time this past week to talk about his future, so maybe you and Astrid should come back some other time. How does tonight at the Great Hall sound?" Stoick suggested.
"Sounds good, chief, and I'll just give Hiccup a kiss before me and my father go." Astrid said, as she walked over to her boyfriend, quickly kissed him hard on the lips, and put her mouth near to Hiccup's ear.
"l love you, Hiccup, and just so you know, that's what I was going to tell you at the cove on that night, but I just got a little scared, so I'm sorry for not telling you sooner, and making you wait, and I really missed you so much, and trust me, you have absolutely nothing to worry about." Astrid whispered.
She smiled at Hiccup for a few seconds before leaving through the front door, with Alrick following her, while closing the door behind him, and that just left Hiccup, Stoick, and Toothless in the house, with father and son staring at each other for a short moment until Hiccup spoke up.
"So...dad, now that Astrid and her father have left, what is it about my future that you wanted to talk to me about? I mean, did I do something wrong?" Hiccup asked, while trying to recall anything particularly bad he'd done in the past few days, but he came up short.
"No, son, you did nothing wrong at all, and I apologize for not telling you earlier, but before Alrick left on that fishing trip, we discussed your relationship with Astrid, and since the two of you seem to be very happy together, both of us felt that it was time for you to take the next step." Stoick answered.
"Dad, what do you mean by "next step"? Are you suggesting that me and Astrid sleep together, because I'm sure that we're way too young to even consider doing that." Hiccup asked, while assuming that's what his father was going to be talking about with him.
"You're absolutely right about that, son, which is why me and Alrick have worked out a contract for you and Astrid to be married by the end of summer. Congratulations, son!" Stoick proudly exclaimed.
Hiccup felt the sudden sensation that the floor had been jerked out from under him, and he half expected someone to jump out and say, "Haha! Just kidding! You totally fell for it!" But, unfortunately, that didn't get to happen for him.
"What! I'm engaged to Astrid? Dad, how can we be engaged if we didn't even talk about it, and why didn't I find out about this before? Does Astrid even know about this?" Hiccup asked, and he obviously felt like asking a lot more questions.
Stoick made a bark of laughter, as though it was a good time of watching his son freak out. "Calm down, Hiccup! Well, I'm sure that the engagement's exactly what Alrick discussed with Astrid during their fishing trip for the past week. It's a good thing you're engaged because it's a perfect match with the Hoffersons, which are a good, strong family, just like us Haddocks, and it was actually an unplanned sort of thing, since it was Alrick who made the offer first, and as you already know, I decided to wait until they got back so that we could discuss everything together." Stoick explained.
"What is there else to discuss about? I'm barely sixteen! I've still haven't even begun to understand females! Why should me and Astrid have to get married so soon, I mean, can't we just wait for a couple of years to give us more time to commit to each other?" Hiccup requested.
"Son, once you're married, the two of you will have more than enough time to be committed, and it wouldn't be so different to make this an official union, because a lot of Vikings choose to marry at a young age, especially Viking chiefs, and it's to ensure that the tribes stay strong. Hiccup, I really am sorry for not telling you about any of this earlier, but now that you know, it shouldn't be a problem anymore, and my decision on this is final. I just hope someday, you'll understand that while a father must do what's best for his son, a chief must do what's best for the village." Stoick explained.
Before Hiccup could even ask his father any more questions, Stoick had already walked out the door, and Hiccup wordlessly climbed up the stairs into his bedroom, with Toothless quietly following him, and he laid down with his back on the bed, staring up at the ceiling for a moment. His mind instantly got focused on what Astrid told him before she left his house, which caused Hiccup to wonder if he loved her back, and the Viking didn't really know, but he had always liked her, and cared about her as a friend, but he wasn't if he wanted their relationship to become more serious. He liked their relationship as it already was, a comforting and friendly love, because they were not just friends, but they were also sweethearts, so obviously, he never even had considered marriage, since it was taking a huge step in their relationship, and making an actual commitment.
"What should I do? Astrid said that she loves me, but I'm not sure if I feel the same way about her, and how am I supposed to tell her that? Surely she will get angry or sad, and I don't want that to happen, but I'm afraid that our relationship could be destroyed!" Hiccup thought to himself.
He still kept his green eyes on the ceiling, as if the answer was up there somehow. "I do like Astrid, and I have always liked her. I would never forgive myself if I let down such a strong, tough, and great girl like Astrid."
Hiccup knew that he would never do that to her, and to decide whether he loved Astrid or not, Hiccup thought of everything that they had been through, from dragon training to the battle with the only to have uncertainty written all over his face.
"No, I don't love Astrid," Hiccup concluded, and it was far too early, which is why all he needed was time, and if Astrid would give him that, he would eventually give his love in return, but he didn't want to spend all of that time planning their wedding, and it was much too soon for them to be doing that either.
It seemed impossible at this point for Hiccup to go outside, find his father, and try to convince him to have the wedding, if not the engagement, postponed because he couldn't possibly be married to somebody whom he didn't love yet, even it was Astrid, and he knew that it wouldn't really be fair to her. Maybe if Hiccup could get away from Berk for a while, it would help him think about going through with the wedding, and come to a realization that him and Astrid were truly meant for each other, but he knew that it would be a bad message by taking off without saying anything. He could leave a note for his father explaining that he wasn't running away, since it would only be a few days, or maybe even a week until he got back, and while Hiccup still wasn't sure of the destination, he should be able to find some kind of campsite that he could stay at.
"Alright Toothless, I think that it's time to go on a trip of our own, and it will just be the two of us, but this trip isn't going to include Astrid and Stormfly, so are you okay with that?" Hiccup asked, and he already knew what the dragon's answer was when Toothless came over to licking his face.
"I'll take that as a yes, but before we go, I just have to pack up some things I'll need and leave a note for my dad, and we'll be out of here. Could you please wait for me downstairs?" Hiccup requested, and Toothless nodded before going down the wooden stairway.
Hiccup immediately found a basket and got started on filling it with the most important things that he should bring for trip, like a few changes of clothes, fresh food, clean water, and his sketchbook, because he'd like to draw anything out there that might capture his attention. After he was done packing the basket, Hiccup walked over to his desk, grabbed a spare piece of paper and the charcoal pen his mother had given him when he was young, and started writing.
I know that since you're the chief, it's your duty to make decisions which are best for the village, and because I'm not only your son, but your only child, I'll be the next in line to take that position in the future, but I'm not exactly happy with the decision you've recently made for me. Ever since I met Astrid back when we were kids, I liked her a lot, and I still do right now, but my feelings for Astrid haven't really changed over the years, and that's why I don't love her, and I'm not even in love with her, but I would like to be, if only I had more time. It wouldn't be fair to you, Astrid, and her father for me to stay here in Berk and spend that time making plans for me and Astrid to get married, when I'm still not certain about spending the rest of my life with her, and that's why I need to get away for a while.
You don't have to worry about me, because I'll only be gone for a few days, or probably even a week, and I have a basket that's all packed with the most necessary things for the trip, and Toothless will be by my side and look after me the entire time we're away from Berk. When you see Astrid, can you please tell her not to be upset with me, because I'm pretty sure that will be her instant reaction when she finds out about me having left the village, and also tell her father that I still do like her daughter, and I'm not scared of being with her. While I'm gone, I'll miss spending time with not only her and Stormfly, but also with you, because ever since the battle with the Green Death, I've felt that our relationship has gotten better and stronger over the past few months, with Alvin, the portrait, and everything else.
I'll be sure to tell you about what happened during the trip when I get back, and until then, goodbye, father.
With love, from your son, Hiccup
After he was finally finished with the note, Hiccup made a quick double check in the basket to see if there was anything that he might have missed to put in, and he remembered that he wouldn't need to wear his fur vest at least until he found land, and so he put the vest in the basket. Hiccup looked around to find his mother's breast plate, and he let out a sigh while looking at it, since the helmet was the only piece of his mother he had left of her, and he gave an adjustment by fixing one of the horns that was crooked before putting the dull metal helmet on his head. He quickly put on his leather riding vest and tightened the straps of it before Hiccup slung the large basket over his shoulder and took the handwritten letter to his father with his other available hand, and carefully went down the wooden stairs, being cautious not to trip on any of the steps.
"Alright, Toothless, I've got the basket all packed up for our trip, and now we just have to go over to the cove, and I think that it's better to walk because I don't want anyone from the village to catch us if we're flying to get there. Besides, it's better than having my father on your back, right?" Hiccup asked.
Toothless growled, while making a nod in agreement about that question, and Hiccup laid the note down on the dinner table, being in plain sight for his father to see when the next time he comes inside, and both of them went across the room, going outside the house through the back door. Since Hiccup was being mostly quiet during their walk to the cove, Toothless believed that Hiccup had been having second thoughts about their trip, and maybe wondering if he was making a huge mistake with leaving Berk, and so he gently nudged his friend to the side, while looking up at him.
"Don't worry, bud, I'm not sad or upset with you about anything, it's just really important for me to take this trip right now, because otherwise, I'll never know whether or not I can live with even the idea of me and Astrid becoming husband and wife at the end of the summer. Do you understand?" Hiccup asked.
He playfully rubbed the dragon's nose, while also giving him a slight grin, which soon caused Toothless' worries to go away, and as they went much deeper into the forest, Hiccup and his Night Fury could hear the sound of birds chirping, and when Hiccup turned around, he barely saw the village anymore.
"You know what, Toothless, I think that we've walked pretty far enough, and I'm sure that nobody will see us if we start flying, but there's only one more thing that I need to do, and that's for me to connect the basket to your saddle. Now you'll just have to hold still and it will be done with, okay?" Hiccup asked.
Toothless calmly purred, and he managed to keep himself in a still position long enough for Hiccup to get the basket situated on his back, and luckily for Toothless, the basket didn't feel so heavy, but he had to admit that it really felt a lot better than having a man who was four hundred pounds on him. Hiccup jumped onto the saddle and hooked himself in, attaching the metal loops of his leather belt to the metal hooks on Toothless' saddle, and once Hiccup was done with that, the dragon thrust his wings downward and in a matter of only a few seconds, they were off from the ground and into the sky.
When they were a good distance away from the island, Hiccup turned back to the town, getting one last look at it. "Goodbye, Dad. Goodbye, Astrid. Goodbye, Berk." He whispered, and with those few messages said, the unlikely friends took off towards the coast, while facing the wide open ocean.
Hiccup's caught off guard when Astrid declares she loves him, and Stoick announces he and Astrid will be married in late summer, so he decides to take off with Toothless on a trip, determined to figure out whether he can go through with the marriage, but what he didn't expect to find is a Scottish princess, which causes him to rethink his future. cool-and-creative.deviantart.c…
Welcome to the Grand Delusion Come on in, get your salvation Leave your check in the slot before you go!
The stage is set, the rock band's playin' Raise your hands and start the swayin' You're wishing secretly that you were me!
You hear me on christian radio I'm on TV, in magazines You see my photograph, it's how your life should be Yes, come and join me in my fantasy!
So if you think your life's an abomination 'Cause you saw me on "Today" Just remember that, cash is my solution Hey, thanks for sending it my way!
So if you think your life's an abomination Because you heard I've got a maid Just remember that, it's nunya business 'Cause you and I are not the same! We're not the same! (losers)
America's a free speech nation Join me in my blind ambition Help me buy my brand new motorcar! (lookin' at a Benz) Someday soon you'll stop to ponder Why you gave in to this blunder I made the grade and still you wonder Why you were such fools! (but hey, it's all good)
We are the evening, you and I. Both painted in our sunday blacks as mourning breaks upon us. You are the vast, intense expanse of a taurine sky dribbling crystals that hang on invisible threads from the deep blue smile of the galaxy.
You are those dead, iron-eating stars, refracting beauty through dead air, and blurring the edges until no one can tell where beauty starts and the spaces inbetween begin, people gaze at you and forget - forget - forget how empty spaces are.
You are layer upon layer of small lights that combine to prick holes in the darkness that keeps them awake. That’s what you are, you are the atmosphere and far beyond. The bow of a universe wrapped tight around the world, to hold it together.
I am a dark black lake gripping its shores too tightly, and flooding them often. I am a bottomless hole overfilled, overwhelmed, unable to get over you,
but as I swill and slurry - as I stew - as I remember contributing to something, being a drop in the ocean, once - as I remember feeling normal, safe, sane
I am still a dark and bottomless lake overwhelmed and unable to get over your image projected onto my unstable face saturating all I am with inescapable light. We are the evening, you and I - you are the ink of an evening being written and I the bleak smudge of a day poorly wrote.