There was a man. A bit taller than Toothless to Hiccup he was a shadow in the morning dawn. A hand grabbed his Noah was pulling him away. They hadn’t paused very long, but the older man had a familiar look about him. There was sadness and even regret, but the deep air of trauma was missing. This was an everyday sort of tragedy “What was that your Ex or something?”
Noah tensed and he knew he was at least close ‘Wait, really?’ okay now that he totally wanted to be nosy about. “Does he have a name? You know a basic description so I don’t foul up your avoiding him?” after a long pause he answered “Ezekiel.” Hiccup gave a questioning look ‘Stalling?’
“Does anyone actually call him that?” Noah shrugged. Luckily a noteworthy distraction… “…and he said, “what’cha lookin’ for?”” ran straight into Hiccup while she wasn’t paying attention.
“Oh my gosh! Are you Okay?” She would have been plenty distracting on her own had they actually seen her coming. “I’m fine.” He grabbed hold of the nearest thing to pull himself up.
“Ow. Um, you sure? Cause that’s my hair your grabbing.” she was good-natured even perky about the whole thing. He dropped her braid “Oh, jeez sorry I-holly mother of marigolds.” and then almost immediately began admiring it. ‘Hiccup likes long hair?’ Noah looked to his own rather long hair.
“Are those flowers real? How long must this take? French braid from hell and it still goes past your waist I mean… how can you still even move?” Hiccup then realized he was touching the braid again and promptly dropped it.
Toothless sighed, “I’m Noah and this is Hiccup: apparent hair enthusiast.” While the boy glared death at his partner the woman giggled, “Call me Cori. Now as fun as this is, shouldn’t you be in school soon?” Hiccup ran off like a shot.
Cori watched his disappearing silhouette, a might perplexed “Doesn’t the high school actually start after the sun rises?” Noah eyed the brunette “Your purse is moving.” He didn’t actually ask if there were bats in it
“So it is. Pascal is kind of a rascal.” She did however answer the question he did ask honestly and amicably “Do you know Aster?” she nodded “Yes. I love his work and what he’s done with the property… it was such a sad story. He really made it into something beautiful. That’s where I get some of my flowers from, but what’s really amazing are Berk’s night flowers!”
Toothless gave her a curious look “Those you won’t find just anywhere. They love old abandoned places or even around caves. Places the sunlight doesn’t touch. And when night falls they open up and the red fireflies dance and…” she pulled a closed blossom from her hair “here.”
She said nothing more to him, just put her earphones back on and, “She said, “I want something that I want; something that I tell myself I need…””
He watched the singing brunette retreat for a bit till he felt something wet on his hand. ‘Blood.’ There was blood on a petal of the flower ‘Was she…? No, the flower is bleeding.’ He was fairly certain flowers weren’t supposed to do that.
“This. Is. Amazing!” Hiccup was absolutely enraptured with the flower “Is this blood? I mean obviously, it’s not, but…” he may have gotten his hands on one of those little ‘is this human blood?’ tests from all the cop shows to the external mystification of all.
“This flower is bleeding human blood, how does this even?” he was completely spellbound the implications were staggering.
If this could in any way sustain a vampire, then with a little work their blood problem could be solved without leaning on the already overburdened blood bank system.
“We need, I don’t know a botanist? She said this was local right? Maybe Park Services really is part of a vampire conspiracy?” that was what they needed to follow up on later Zippleback Ridge.
For now, however Toothless needed to swallow his pride “I know a guy.” Hiccup looked at him “Oh? And why does this guy make it sound like you’d rather eat live worms then talk to him?”
“He’s my Ex.” Noah whined. “Really, Mate? You sound like you’re about to face a firing squad. Am I that bad?” ‘Holy… okay not my type, but way to go Toothless! Also, did that guy just say “Mate”?’
Indeed, he did. In a town other than Berk the man would have been rather tall, he had dark skin though not quite like say, Toothless, light hair like Hiccup had never quite seen, he had the same symbol tattooed on his forehead and shoulders. “I…uh…”
“Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the third, yes really.” He offered a hand to the man.
The apparent Aussie shrugged and took it “And you would be?” Hic smiled “Toothless’ partner.” Noah tensed and the man looked to him for answers “He’s a…?”
Noah sighed keeping his expression neutral it was still obvious he didn’t want to be having this conversation “No, researcher. Hiccup this B-Aster Mund.” Aster gave a cocky smirk “Most folks call me Bunny.” He said like that were the manliest nickname in the history of forever and really more power to him
“Or you could call him Ezekiel which is his actual first name.” Noah said in that same indifferent tone from before, but now there was a hint of a tease in it “Hey Now! I don’t go telling random people your s-tuff” he corrected himself mid-word then looked even more embarrassed when the fourteen year old gave him a ‘are you censoring yourself on my account?’ sort of look.
Bunny cleared his throat “You still aren’t coming back I’m guessing?” the air turned terribly tense
“Nope.” Noah popped the P.
After about a minute or so of a tense silence Hiccup said, “So do you know anything about this?” holding up the flower.
Aster chewed his lip in an angry fashion “Where’d you go and find this?” “A girl calling herself Cori gave it to me.” Because she’d never said it was her name. “Right, nice girl. Though she might be a vampire.” He sighed, “I really hope not. Last thing we need is real live day walking to be a thing.”
“You don’t mean like every other vampire with there raincoats and parka and umbrellas do you?” Hiccup asked much to Bun’s surprise “What’d you say you did again?” “Research.” “As opposed to hunting?” “Violence isn’t really my thing.” “So you’re having light conversation with the vampires?” “Oh no sometimes the topics get pretty serious.”
With that Aster turned to his fellow hunter “You’re still trying to save them, aren’t you?” everything in Noah tensed immediately in so many emotions but then Hiccup just “Save? The vampires? From what? The sun? I think they have a handle on that.” And yes, he did have a sinking feeling what Aster might be getting at, but playing innocent seemed the best route.
Luckily it was as Bunny realized fully what he’d just implied and backed down “It’s got a lot of names. My Aunt used to call them Queens of the Night, but most people call them Blood Blossom for obvious reasons. They only grow places vampires live or at least frequent so obviously, it’s not in any book.” He idly examined the flower before him
“I saw Frost chewing on one once when I was a child. Odd since vampires aren’t supposed to eat.” Yes it was but Hiccup focused in on something else “You knew Jack from that far back?” Aster looked at him funny “He’s three hundred kid. Not that I knew what he was.” He seemed for a minute to go somewhere else entirely until he remembered they were having a conversation “You need anything else?”
Hiccup had been thinking about it and decided this guy was probably more like Doomfang than Windwalker. He aired on the side of caution “If I think of anything, I’m sure I can find you.” And with that Bunny left.
“So… that happened?” Toothless caved with a sigh, “I was at least nominally part of a troop of hunters, one he is still a part of. We… haven’t spoken in a long time. Bunny isn’t wholly unbending; the camp has a vampire counted among it’s members. He hates vampires and by god he’s got his reasons. The help you’re looking for, it’s not Bunny.”
They walked in silence for awhile yet they did need to make it to Zippleback Ridge.
“Okay I give up. What are you thinking about so hard?” he did seem to be rather hung up on something “You said Bunny hated vampires, okay I believe you, the way he spoke about Jack kind of suggests it’s I don’t know… more complicated than that?”
“Well, Yeah.” The two practically jumped out of their skins ‘That’s it, all vampire are ninja!’ “You guys okay?”
Toothless finally remembered to breath “We were coming to see you two.” That got their attention “How?” the question wasn’t tough to guess “Oh, you know Zippleback Ridge, Zippleback Twins we figured it might be some wacky coincidence.”
Both Barf and Belch laughed at that “Well then come on!” Belch ran out ahead “We don’t get too much company ‘sept maybe the guys!” Barf pulled them both along.
They didn’t end up in at their home, but rather their playground. “Yeah this looks pretty “unstable” to me!” so sue him Noah liked explosions and this place had some stories to tell!
Hiccup was doing some marveling of his own “What did you even make all this with?” and the vampires just lit up going on and on about “Zippleback Gas” this and “Monstrous Nightmare Slime” that “And you gave that to Hookfang?!” Noah suddenly felt a lot less good about his chances “And Fireworm, enough for her birds too!”
Hiccup groaned “Is my cousin going to catch fire next time I see him?” they looked at him funny “Since when are Hooky and Fai your cousins?” Barf wondered in turn “Unless he’s claiming kinship to the birds?” both were quick to dismiss the idea.
“I meant Snotlout actually.” That got their attention “New kid’s related to the hunter chief?” “He certainly didn’t mention it.”
“Would you?” Noah interrupted “Putting aside you knowing who the chief is a second. Neither of these two knew until a few days ago. Though if you did I’m guessing any other vampire who happened to ask him his uncles name figured it out.” ‘Might even be part of the reason he was sent to spy on the kids?’
“Maybe?” “Whatever. You guys want to blow stuff up?” Toothless and Hiccup exchanged looks, Yes. Yes, they did.