After spending the day being the laughing stock of the village, Stiles was able to duck out after an awkward family supper with his father.
"You know I'm proud of you," his father says over a healthy bowl of leek stew. Stiles had been following the village healer's words on his father's health seriously. Stiles had even tried his hand at bread-making. He's still patching up the roof from that disaster.
"And I know some of the villag-"
"It's fine, Dad," Stiles cuts him off. Because really. Stiles is used to it. He's been an ungainly mess of disaster since he was born. He's come to terms with it. "It doesn't bother me."
"You are doing good work at the smithy," his father says, proudly. "You don't need to slay dragons to be a part of this village."
Stiles sighs forlornly because really, he's the laughing stock of the village.
"Your mother was always better at this," his father says and it reels a phantom ache in Stiles' chest. One that has him getting the venison jerky from the hidden cubby beneath the loose brick in the kitchen than deal with responding to his father's musings.
The time it takes him to come back, his father has polished off his share of the stew and smiles fondly at him. His eyes wet with unshed tears as vikings don't cry. They share the venison in difference to talking about their feelings. Like real vikings. And Stiles can almost believe he'll be one someday.
Tromping through the forest is not his best idea. But the idea of a wounded animal in the forest has been gnawing at him. Dragon or not. The bucket of fish was an afterthought. Stiles is sure the fish would taste better than Stiles' spleen.
Except he hasn't found any sign of the dragon. Well except for where he set him loose. The trees look horribly mangled. Stiles will at least get a month's worth of fire wood from it with minimal effort.
"I can't believe I did this for nothing," he mutters. "And now I reek of the sea."
He wrinkles his nose at his linen shirt. His leather pants will smell like this for the rest of the season. Or until Scott's mother finishes his new pair. He's been going through quite the growth spurt. Part of the reason he's not allowed in the smithy's showroom. He takes comfort in knowing that it's because no one wants to explain to Stiles' father how his son impaled himself on a sword.
He swings the bucket of fish one more time. "Here, dragon, dragon," he croons with a frustrated grin.
He's left with nothing but a faint hoot of an owl and crickets chirping. He sits and waits for a steady half hour and is all set to turn back when he hears a snap of a tree branch and a low growl.
"Oh shit," he yells before flinging the bucket of fish in the general direction of the noise. "Don't eat me! I come in peace!"
He puts both hands in front of himself in his best non-threatening pose. The forest becomes eerily silent, the crickets oddly muted. His knees nearly buckle when the empty bucket comes rolling back at him to spin upright at his feet.
"Uhhh," he stutters, looking at the metal bucket, it's gouged by three claw marks. Stiles makes an audible gulp.
The underbrush rustles to reveal the glowing bright blue eyes of the Night Fury.
"Hey there, dragon," croaks out Stiles, his voice cracking every so slightly in what he will defend was a very manly way. He gives a small wave of his fingers.
The Night Fury's eyes roam Stiles' wiry frame before its nostrils flare and he turns back to the dark forest.
Stiles scratches his head in confusion but he doesn't have that much time to contemplate the interaction before the dragon is back, dragging back half a dozen fish in its' mouth.
Stiles' eyes flicker back to the village and wonders if the dragon wants him for an appetizer. He's not sure if he said that out loud when the dragon actually rolls its' eyes before dropping the fish in front of Stiles. He stares unblinkingly at Stiles and Stiles tries to convey a none appetizing vibe. The dragon stretches its wings and Stiles can see where the scales are scarred. Stiles winces in sympathy. It seems to be healing, his fingers itch to touch the black scales, his hand is stopped at a growl. The dragon is still staring at him.
Stiles makes an abortive wave. "Just stretching."
The dragon snorts and wraps its wings around itself before laying down on the forest floor. It nudges one of the smaller fish towards Stiles and glares.
"I already ate," begins Stiles but the dragon continues to glare. "But I'm a growing boy, always room for more, you know, raw fish."
He lifts up the fish and takes a large bite with a grin and tries to quash the nausea in his throat.
"Yummy," he chokes out with the fish still in his mouth. The dragon blinks once before digging into his larger share, ignoring Stiles, as he swallows the fish with a bitter face. "Urgh."
He awkwardly holds the rest of the fish, its dead eye staring up at him, making his stomach rethinking eating anything in the first place. The dragon doesn't have the same problem. Its sharp teeth appearing and disappearing between each bite, bone and all. It finishes in record time, and is licking its snout and talons before Stiles knows it. Its eyes are on Stiles again and Stiles offers the fish in his hand tentatively, if anything to stop the dragon from looking at him like he's its next meal.
The dragon bites of the fish's head from Stiles' fingers and licks the rest from his hands. The dragon snuffs its snout into Stiles' chest and Stiles sends a small prayer out there to whatever Gods are listening. Maybe Thor or Frigga. But the dragon doesn't eat him. It merely leans back on its haunches and looks at Stiles.
"Uuh, I don't have anymore fish," Stiles says because he really can't stop the filter from his brain to his mouth. "But I can get more, more fish, and maybe some eel?"
The dragon stretches its wings again and holds the left one open. It looks pretty mauled, like that Stiles tumbled down the mill's hill and ended up in the Argents' briar bush.
"You want me to help?" Stiles frowns, because he knows nothing about dragons. Well, except how to kill them. There's a viking how-to book on that.
The dragon shoots him another dark look. Stiles coughs, he may have said that out loud.
"Urgh, sorry," he says, flushing. "I'll have to come back tomorrow, with the supplies, I mean, I don't know what will work on your dragony physique."
He'll have to raid Deacon's stores. The healer is used to Stiles' comings and goings. Stiles wasn't kidding on having a knack for trouble.
The dragon seems to accept, if accepting means blinking at Stiles. Blinking seems to be its communication of choice. It's way better that the staring.
"So what do I call you?" asks Stiles. "Blinky?"
The dragon growls and flashes its teeth and Stiles scrambles backwards.
"OK, OK, so I'm not the best at naming," says Stiles. "Don't have to be a sour dragon about it."
The dragon snorts.
"I'm Stiles, by the way," Stiles continues but the dragon is already leaping up to a high tree branch. "Ungrateful dragon," he mutters under his breath, as he brushes off dead leaves from his leather pants. The growl from above doesn't seem as intimidating as before.
"Night Furys," mutters Stiles. "More like Night Surlys."