Other Fan Fiction ❯ Hybrid ❯ Words (theme 80) ( Chapter 17 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Hybrid: Words (theme 80) [rough draft], a DreamWorks' How to Train Your Dragon fanfic series by Raberba girl
List of themes by AngieChild, Variation 1 for the 100ThemesChallenge group on DeviantArt

A/N:  I got feedback from three people saying that my newest language formatting system for this fic seems to work now, so I will use that formatting from now on.  In dialogue, italics indicate Dragonese; boldface indicates emphasis.  I have no idea when I'll have time to go back and fix all the previously posted chapters. DX

o.o.o

Hiccup didn't miss Eret at all for two or three days - he barely even thought of him.

After a while, though, while Toothless would be sleeping and Hiccup would be curled up with him, unable to sleep, he would think of the human world.  He thought of all the humans he had met, strange and unfathomable when they weren't being downright scary or ridiculous.  He thought of how lost Eret seemed.  He also thought of his far away not-home, where there was a papa and a nest and a human flock that apparently belonged to him.

He thought that his real home, even though he loved it, was maybe a little bit...small.  He thought that maybe, as long as his other half remained at his side, he would like to go out and look at the world, maybe even find another home out there, and he thought unhappily that in that vast distant world filled with humans who hated dragons, he would not survive unless he became human, too.  The king had been right in that.  And maybe his mother was right as well, when she said she wanted her son to go back to her old flock someday and keep dragons safe and humans safe.

Hiccup already knew what he had to do, but it took a long time for him to work up enough courage to do it.  By the next Bath Day, he finally saw that he had run out of excuses.

Instead of hiding or complaining like usual, this time he crouched and silently watched his mother filling the tub with water.  When she had made sure it was the right temperature, she turned away to fetch him, and looked shocked to find him already there.  "Er...Hiccup?"

"Make me nothing," Hiccup muttered, feeling Toothless shift uneasily at his side.  The dragon could sense that something was wrong.  "Time to make me nothing...hurts, have to do it...."

"Come along," Valka said warily, holding out her hand.

He cocked his head.  "Soap, Mama."  His voice shook.

"Not unless you make a fuss.  Come on, get undressed."

He turned to his other half and nuzzled Toothless, who licked him anxiously.  "You are half of me always forever no matter what," Hiccup said.  "You are half of me if we are together or apart."

"Don't leave me,"
Toothless whimpered.

"I will come back come back of course."  Hiccup licked his cheek.  "Mine always forever.  I will go away, but I will come back.  Half Of Me."

"No no no no!"

Hiccup's heart was breaking, but he had to do this.  With shaking hands, he removed the cloak that he thought of as his wings, and he threw it away.

The dragons who were gathering to watch reacted in shock and dismay.  Toothless, feeling like he was being rejected and abandoned, rushed to take refuge with his father, who tried to comfort him.

Hiccup continued to shed the rest of his clothing, which held so many of his scents, until he was naked and shivering with fear, his identity diminished.  "Soap, Mama," he managed to say again, seeing that she had made no move to fetch it.

She sounded worried and confused.  "It's all right, I won't get it as long as you come here and wash without a fuss.  What's wrong, Hiccup?  What's happening?"

He had to get it himself.  He knew where she kept it, buried at the back of a shelf.  When he had retrieved and unwrapped it, the sharp, threatening stench of it overwhelmed him for a moment.  It felt like poison in his hands, drier than he expected but leaving a residue on his skin that he was keenly, disgustingly aware of.  He brought the horrible thing back to where his mother stood, staring at him as if she had no idea what he was doing.

"You don't need the soap right now, Hiccup, just--  Here, give it to me--"

"Mine," he snarled at her, so angrily that she backed away.

The horrible stuff was ten times worse when it was wet.  The stench increased, it oozed in his hands and crawled to consume him like maggots on a corpse.  He sobbed as he forced it all over his body, savagely erasing everything he cared about, scrubbing at his skin and hair until he was no longer himself.  Then he couldn't bear it anymore.  He wasn't a person, he had no home or flock, no one loved him, he was alone, he was nothing.

He was crying too hard to finish.  His mother had to pull him out of the water, it was a long time before he could think of anything but his grief and loneliness.

At last he started to regain some awareness of the world around him.  He was wrapped in a blanket, held tightly by his mother she cried softly and rocked him.  Dragons surrounded them, sorrowing and keeping vigil; Toothless, inconsolable, grieved at the loss of his other half.

'But I'm still here,' Hiccup thought.  He felt like he was dead, but he wasn't.  His mother's body was warm, he could hear her heartbeat, the strength of her embrace spoke of her love and concern for him.  'How?'  He felt like nothing, completely empty.  His skin felt strange, he could feel how devoid it was of all the marks that defined and claimed him.  'But...I am...still here.'

He slowly stood up and took one step, than another.  Ice Hunt watched him with wide eyes.  Hiccup paused at the ledge and stared at the nest that was supposed to be his home.  "This...is...my...nest."  It was true, wasn't it?  It was still true, even though the scents were gone?  "The 'king' is...my alpha.  This nest is my nest home safe.  That dragon there is my Half Of Me Toothless mine, that dragon there is Companion Nightwing Ice Hunt mine, that human there is Companion Mama my dam, my 'mother,' no smells but STILL MINE."

He paused, then his face twisted with dissatisfaction.  Human sound-marks were useless.  You made them, but in the next instant they were gone again.  They were nothing like good dragon scent-marks which lasted for as long as you needed them to (unless an overbearing parent forced you to erase them all).

Yet...there must be more to it.  His mother claimed him with bonds as true as scent, yet she almost never actually used scent.  He had always taken it for granted, but now he wondered specifically how she did it.  She never licked him.  She would hug him and caress him sometimes, but he couldn't detect the scents she left behind from that, so he knew that other humans wouldn't be able to, either.  How was she able to claim him so strongly as her treasure when she never put scent-marks on him?!  How would a human know that he belonged to her unless she kept declaring it in an unceasing repetition of sound?!

He whirled to her.  "Mama!  Humans know I am your precious thing your important thing your cub child son, how?!"

"How?  How can they tell you're my son?"

"No licking, Mama!  Human marks, say but then go away!  HOW?!"

"They--  It's--  You look like me, Hiccup, and...a woman and a child traveling together...they just know."

Hiccup gaped at her.  "HOW I TELL HUMANS HALF OF ME TOOTHLESS IS MINE MINE MINE MINE, HOW I TELL THEM WITH NO LICKING?!?!"

"They know, Hiccup!  The way you never separate--  You don't have to tell them, they just know!  They can tell!"

He did not find this to be an adequate explanation.  "How, Mama?!  Human queen says 'This is my flock my territory stay away' how?!  Human says 'this is mine that is mine he is mine she is mine' how?!  No licking, how?!  They say it?!  Sound-marks?!"

"They--"  Valka was at a loss.  How could explain something so instinctive to a boy who apparently had such a different set of instincts?  "I suppose there are...contracts, as well....  If a chieftain conquers a new territory and demands tribute, or if a man marries a wife or buys a house or....  They can write it, as well."

"Write?!"  Hiccup shrieked in excitement too intense to be happy, and rushed at Toothless.  Ice Hunt, unnerved by the boy's unpredictable behavior, fled a safe distance away; Toothless, dazed with trauma and confusion, didn't move.  "Write-marks on my Half Of Me!!"

"Half Of Me," Toothless echoed automatically.

Charcoal didn't work well at all on the Night Fury's dark hide.  Valka, seeing what Hiccup was trying to do, managed to get a bowl of pale dust to him before the frustration could drive him into a panic.  "Here, Hiccup, here, use this.  Wet it a little first so it will stick better."

HICCUP, Hiccup wrote on Toothless's scales, using his human name because these marks were meant to speak to humans.  He stared.  A wild smile started to stretch his mouth.  Toothless craned his head to lick at the marks, but Hiccup stopped him, demanding submission on this particular matter with uncharacteristic force.  "NO.  Making sight-marks on You, scent-marks are forbidden so I will make sight-marks instead.  I claim You claim You claim You!!!"

Toothless chirred, confused, but relieved and trusting.

"Mine, Mama!  Half Of Me Toothless is MINE!  Look, I mark Him with human marks, not good dragon scent-marks.  You see!  Still there!!"

"Y...Yes, Hiccup.  I see."

For days, Hiccup practiced.  He walked upright whenever he was consciously thinking about it, spoke more Norse than usual, unhappily struggled to use proper grammar, and devoured writing lessons that he had previously found tiresome.  Valka had a very difficult time trying to convince Hiccup that human writing wasn't really used on living flesh (she was not about to complicate the situation trying to explain about tattoos), and only partially succeeded.

She had to get used to the sight of dragons, especially Hiccup's favorites, wandering around with words scrawled on them in mud or whatever else was at hand to write with.  She also had to get used to occasionally waking up to find words, mostly MAMA, staining her own clothes or skin.  Toothless in particular was now constantly covered from nose to tail with runes, most often HICCUP'S (Valka had reminded Hiccup again about the possessive signifier), MINE, HALF OF ME, and TOOTHLESS.

One night, while Valka was asleep, Hiccup presented himself before the king.  "Hello, King," he said carefully, mentally echoing so that the Bewilderbeast could understand him.  "I am...camouflaged.  I am....  My body is human.  I will go to humans.  I will hide with them.  My Toothless will hide away from them."

Frost was breathed over him, and he smiled.

o.o.o

Author's Notes:  Many humans rely so much on verbal or written communication that they don't consciously acknowledge nonverbal-or-written communication.  It's the same with dragons, in their own way - scent is such an important part of their communication that, in its absence, they have a hard time being sure of the truth.  Subconsciously, they'll know that HiccTooth are obviously still two halves, but when Hiccup has lost all his scents, for them it's like, "Uh...they are a two-halves pair, right???  But they don't smell like it so I don't know, I'm confused...."  It's like someone with OCD who knows that they turned off the stove and locked the door before they left, but their brain won't actually believe it, which is why they feel compelled to drive back home just to check (and find that, sure enough, the door was locked and the stove was off).

I did not plan the "dragon graffiti" at all; Hiccup came up with that all on his own as I was typing (of course he hadn't breathed a word of it to me in my imagination earlier ^^; ). One side effect is that Hybrid-Toothless is now most likely going to be covered with writing for the rest of his life. X'''''D  (He won't care, but it's going to be disconcerting to my revised mental images of him until I get used to it. ^^; )

If all goes according to plan (hah!), the next chapter should be the one where Hiccup FINALLY makes it back to Eret's castle.  I haven't written much of it, though, so my muse might very well decide to take another few months' vacation before I update this fic again. :/

I'm so sorry, I meant to catch up on e-mail, but I got sucked into another obsession for three whole days and got almost absolutely nothing done, even though two of those days were precious days off from work and other leaving-the-house obligations. *cries*  I'm hoping I can clean up my act and get productive again now, but I hate myself and it's so discouraging when I let myself get wrecked like this. orz

Chapter 16
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