Hiccup sighed ruefully as he donned his apron, mentally cursing the day he had applied for a job at Mr. Gobber’s little university coffee shop. He didn’t really even remember the name; hell, he doubted anyone that went there did. The place was small but had fast Wi-Fi and good coffee, so the college regulars filtered in and out constantly throughout the day. Mr. Gobber was a huge hulk of a man who looked like he should have been working in a smithy rather than a coffee place. Hiccup was relatively sure Gobber was just a nickname, but he wasn’t quite sure and didn’t have the nerve to ask. After all, Hiccup wasn’t exactly a rose in the name garden either, so he wasn’t about to judge anyone else.
Berk University was definitely the last place Hiccup would have placed himself for his college career; the university was huge and advanced, catering more to hybrids than humans. For whatever reason, hybrids – part animals, part human – were just smarter than their human counterparts, causing many advanced public universities to begin to cater mostly to hybrids. Thought the public schools couldn’t refuse humans admission, getting accepted into prestigious colleges like Berk U was basically impossible for most humans.
Except, apparently, Hiccup, who had been forced to take on a job in order to pay for his ridiculously expensive (and rather unexpected) college education.
Hiccup almost opened his mouth to suggest to one of his coworkers that he thought Gobber should open a coal mine when a rush of chatty college kids – they looked mostly like juniors and seniors – pushed into the café, bringing with them a swath of warm, sweet-smelling summer air. Hiccup, immediately hyperaware of his lowly freshman status, immediately snapped to attention and began taking orders, smiling sweetly as the other employees began to fire up the machines behind him. No one seemed to pay much attention to him; this was fine with Hiccup, as he preferred to keep his toothpick-like physique far away from any upperclassmen that might wish him harm. (Having a spattering of freckles over his cheeks and down the back of his neck didn’t help his status much either.)
A genuine smile spread over Hiccup’s face as he saw the last person in line; the small dragon hybrid was always at the café around this time, and Hiccup had been just a little smitten since the beginning of the year. Dragon hybrids were rare and were usually “large and in charge;” most of the world’s big companies and businesses were run by dragons. This one, however, was slim, lithe and several inches shorter than Hiccup. His skin was tinted grey, which complimented his yellowish-green eyes and messy, jet black hair that somehow still managed to curve gracefully around his jawbones. Black scales covered his upper cheeks and ran down his neck toward his collarbones, which were always visible over the collars of his (usually black) oversized sweaters. His lower arms and hands sported the same scales, and each finger was tipped with a sharp, black nail that looked more like a claw than anything.
“The usual, I assume?” Hiccup said with a grin as the dragon approached the counter; hot chocolate was the only thing the hybrid ever ordered. A small nod told Hiccup he was correct, so he relayed the order to the barista as he watched the dragon swipe his dining pass. Hot chocolate was quick to make, so Hiccup was able to hand the dragon his drink before he went to sit down and begin working on his laptop. A lot of students made the café their ideal homework spot; the Wi-Fi at most dorms was terrible, but Gobber had made sure to spare no expense for Internet service, which served him well in a college town.
Several hours later, Hiccup was finally able to hang up his apron and grab his own laptop, ready to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi for a few hours before heading back to his dorm. The café was unusually crowded for a Friday night; a quick sweep of the room revealed that the only table with a plug was currently occupied by Hiccup’s little dragon friend. Resisting the urge to grin stupidly, Hiccup sidled over to the table, clearing his throat awkwardly when the dragon didn’t acknowledge him.
“Um…do you mind if I sit here? Need the plug…”
The dragon glanced upwards, causing Hiccup to swallow almost painfully; those eyes looked like they could bore into his soul, and Hiccup was immediately lost in their depths. In fact, he nearly missed the quiet “sure” that floated from the hybrid’s mouth. Hiccup had to bite his lip at the realization that at least three teeth on each side of the dragon’s mouth were wicked looking fangs.
“No problem,” muttered the dragon as he turned back to his computer.
Feeling more than a little awkward as he was ignored completely, Hiccup pulled out his laptop and plugged it in, flinching slightly when the start-up noise sounded through the rather quiet shop. After a few minutes of working interrupted by surreptitious glances at the dragon over the top of his computer, the silence became too much for Hiccup.
“So,” he said, not taking his eyes off the screen before him, “You do know this is a coffee shop, right? You don’t always have to get hot chocolate.”
One of the dragon’s eyebrows, which Hiccup now noticed were tiny scales and spikes instead of hair, rose slightly as he turned his gaze to Hiccup. “I like chocolate,” he said, the ghost of a smile quirking one corner of his lips.
Hiccup made a weird, half-shrugging, half-nodding motion, then went brick red as the dragon chuckled quietly.
“What’s your name then?”
“Uh…well…” Hiccup pushed the top of his computer down slightly so he could better see the dragon and was pleased to see him do the same. “Promise you won’t laugh?”
The dragon immediately began to smirk but nodded anyway.
“Ah, it’s Hiccup.” He rolled his eyes. “Stupidest name ever, right?”
The dragon snorted. “Yeah? Try Toothless on for size.”
Hiccup raised both eyebrows in mock dismay. “But you have teeth.”
“I didn’t at birth. They grew in,” he said with a rather wicked grin that highlighted his multiple sets of pointed canines. Hiccup gulped; those looked like they could do some real damage, if Toothless ever wanted to bite someone for whatever reason.
This small conversation seems to break the ice, so both boys turned back to their computers, making occasional small talk as the café slowly began to empty. After an hour or so, Toothless began to pack up his laptop, pulling Hiccup’s attention away from his essay on Old Norse languages. Toothless noticed and smiled as he stood up.
“So…I’ll see you around?”
Hiccup smiled slightly. “Yeah, guess so.” He watched as Toothless turned to leave, but suddenly found himself opening his mouth against his will. “Hey! Um…actually, do you wanna go, uh…get some lunch or something sometime?” He hitched what felt like a gawky grin onto his face as the dragon turned again, his fanned tail curling elegantly around his ankles.
“Sure, that should be fun.” That mischievous grin sprang back onto Toothless’s features as he looked down at Hiccup. “Maybe you’ll be less awkward next time.”
Hiccup couldn’t help but smile. “Yeah, well…don’t count on it.”
Toothless huffed a laugh, then turned to leave with a small wave behind his back. Hiccup watched until his tail flicked passed the door, then slumped in his seat with a sigh.
“Damn…I didn’t even get his phone number,” Hiccup mumbled to himself as he began to pack up his own laptop. “Well, he’ll probably be back in here again on Monday, I can get it then.” He grinned suddenly at his success; who would have guessed the dragon would be interested in a scrawny little weirdo like him? Feeling empowered, Hiccup hitched his bag onto his shoulder and strutted his way out of the café, waving to a few friends before he exited into the warm summer twilight.
Hiccup usually hated the walk back to his dorm after work; though the days were getting longer, it was still a bit too dark outside for his tastes. Thankfully, a few (blessedly not-creepy) alleys cut his walking time to under ten minutes, so it really wasn’t that bad.
This time, however, the first alley felt decidedly less friendly than usual. Hiccup could feel eyes on the back of his neck as he walked, and telling himself he was imagining things wasn’t helping at all. Suddenly, clawed hands grabbed his shoulders gently and pushed him against the nearest wall; Hiccup would later deny the extremely unmanly squeak that escaped his lips before they were covered by someone else’s mouth.
Hiccup’s eyes widened as he was kissed, but he quickly relaxed as he saw the half-lidded, yellow-green eyes that shone up at him. Toothless was nearly on his tiptoes to reach the human’s mouth, a fact which Hiccup found absolutely adorable. Before he could deepen the kiss or even put his hands somewhere on the dragon in front of him, however, Toothless pulled away and smiled. The dragon’s cheeks darkened, and Hiccup couldn’t help but smile in return as he realized the dragon was blushing.
“Sorry if I scared you,” Toothless said quietly, “But I’ve been wanting to do that for a while.”
Hiccup’s smile slowly morphed into a stupid grin as he felt that irritating flush begin to creep up his neck again; he was sure his cheeks were bright red, but he couldn’t really bring himself to care. “Uh…yeah, me too, to be honest.”
“Good.” Toothless’s impish, (and ironically toothy) grin jumped onto his face once again as he pushed himself up against Hiccup’s chest and stuck one hand into the human’s back pocket. “Forgot to give you my number…text me when you get back to your dorm.”
Hiccup jumped slightly as he felt several pinpricks to his rump before Toothless removed his hand; the dragon’s nail-claw-things were every bit as sharp as they looked.
“Uh, yeah…will do,” Hiccup said with another smile, reaching behind himself to pull out the piece of paper Toothless had deposited in his pocket. Toothless was already walking before he looked up from the number.
“I look forward to lunch,” the dragon said over his shoulder. “You look good in the apron, by the way. You should wear it more often.”
“Me too, about the lunch thing,” Hiccup returned. “And you look cute when you blush, by the way.”
Toothless shot a rude gesture behind himself in Hiccup’s general direction, but chuckled quietly anyway. “Damn straight.”