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Fanfic / Black As Night

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Black as Night by Wolfie-Dragon is an alternate version of How to Train Your Dragon, which diverges from canon on the second day of dragon training; instead of Astrid just yelling at Hiccup, she accidentally blinds him when she swings her axe in his direction in frustration, not realising that a fire blast from the Deadly Nadder had melted the head of the axe. His eyes destroyed by the molten metal, Hiccup is forced to adapt to his new condition while Astrid faces her own guilt over what she did, causing significant changes to later events even as the blind Hiccup still tries to get Toothless back in the air.

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The story is followed by a series of one-shots in a single story, Blind Spots, which depicts Berk adapting to life with dragons while Hiccup continues to adapt to his blindness.

Black as Night contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Played with for Stoick; he still has trouble listening to Hiccup, but he clearly regrets his treatment of his son when he returns to Berk and learns about Hiccup’s blindness. He gets better after Hiccup loses his leg and nearly dies saving the tribe from the dragons.
  • Action Girl: Astrid, naturally
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: In a sense; Valka returns to Berk before anyone has heard that Drago Bludvist is an active threat.
  • Amusing Injuries: Averted; the twins find Hiccup’s injury dramatic, evoking their appreciation for ‘cool’ scars in canon, but Astrid wants to throw up at just the smell of charred meat after witnessing Hiccup’s damaged eyes.
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  • Artistic Licence Biology: The skin of a Monstrous Nightmare is completely immune to heat, allowing Hiccup to use a glove made of Monstrous Nightmare skin to continue working in the forge, the glove allowing him to feel the shape of the metal.
  • The Atoner: Astrid becomes this after she injures Hiccup by accident. Especially after Gobber tells her that it looks like she attacked the chief's son and has to stand trial for it, and the best way to earn favor would be to make up for her actions. At first she does it out of a mix of obligation, pity and honor, but eventually she realizes that she wants him in her life and for him to keep living despite his Trauma Conga Line.
  • Berserk Button: Anyone mistreating Hiccup starts to set Astrid off; during the final lesson in Dragon Training, which pits her and Snotlout against the Zippleback, Astrid uses the cover of its smoke to hit Snotlout a few times for sticking Hiccup in the forest with his hands tied by his blindfold.
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  • A Boy and His X: Hiccup and Toothless, as before
  • Broken Pedestal: Astrid’s reputation is damaged after she injures Hiccup, and while she regains some respect as she proves her worth in dragon training, she ruins it all over again when her attempts to tame the Monstrous Nightmare result in her and Hiccup exposing the existence of Toothless. Then she gets it back after she and Hiccup save the village from the Red Death and uses the dragons to evacuate an unconscious, mangled Hiccup back to Berk.
  • Code of Honor: Astrid is initially ordered to help Hiccup based on the Berk code of honor, but grows beyond that over time
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Hiccup is on the losing end of one when he’s ‘attacked’ by Snotlout.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Happens far quicker to Astrid this time around, as she genuinely regrets what she accidentally did to Hiccup and sets out to help him adapt
  • Despair Event Horizon: Hiccup hits this early on after his blindness, when he falls down the hill behind his hut while trying to go to the outhouse and ends up soiling himself when he’s startled by a bird, leaving him sobbing in the mud before Astrid finds him, and he still has dark days after this.
  • Disability Immunity: Used in the confrontation with the Flightmare; in this version, the Flightmare paralyses due to its glow disrupting the vision of the subjects (as opposed to the paralysis just being the result of its breath in the series), with the result that Hiccup isn’t affected by it.
  • Disabled Love Interest: Hiccup is a blind, one-legged man and he still ends up with Astrid.
  • Epiphany Therapy: Subverted. While Hiccup with Astrid's help learns to walk again, he still suffers episodes of depression and lacks self-confidence. And as she finds out, telling him to toughen up doesn't mean he will automatically speak up for himself.
  • Eye Scream: Hiccup loses his eyes when he is struck in the face with molten metal of Astrid’s damaged axe, causing him to pass out from the pain after screaming in agony. By the time his scars have 'healed', what was once his eyes are now greyish white valleys in his face, and he often wears a red blindfold so people don't have to look at the scars.
  • Flight of Romance: Hiccup and Astrid still have this moment, even as Astrid has to acknowledge her sorrow that Hiccup can’t see any of it
  • For Want of a Nail: Astrid is just a little slower when dodging the Deadly Nadder’s fire, which results in her axe being damaged and Hiccup blinded
  • Forging Scene: As the first step to helping Hiccup adapt to his blindness, Astrid helps him with his offer to re-forge her axe, which he accomplishes through his natural knowledge of where everything is in the forge, some visual input from Astrid to determine the condition of the metal based on its colour, and his own use of a glove made from the hide of a Monstrous Nightmare so that he can feel the condition of the weapon
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Hiccup tries to continue this despite his blindness, but is obviously hampered as he can’t see his sketches, although he finds a few ways around this.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Inverted; Hiccup has very disfiguring scars that shock the entire village council when he removes his blindfold, and Astrid gains less noticeable but still significant scars on her hands when she burns herself while trying to save Hiccup’s leg.
  • Handicapped Badass: Played with; Hiccup still ends up flying on Toothless, but it takes a great deal of work to get the dragon in the air so that he and Hiccup won’t just crash into everything, and Hiccup is still limited in what he can do in a direct confrontation. As the series continues, Hiccup proves his worth as a leader when he demonstrates his authority to the entire Bog Burglar tribe, sentencing the twins and Snotlout to particular punishments after their actions nearly destroy the treaty between the two, and later works with Astrid to capture Alvin the Treacherous when Alvin tries to capture the 'Dragon Conqueror'.
  • Happiness in Slavery: To a greater extent than in the original Gift of the Night Fury; Toothless destroys his autonomous fin despite the fact that Hiccup’s blindness means that it takes far more effort for them to fly together
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Subverted. Snotlout comes to apologize to a comatose Hiccup, who can't even hear him, and Astrid tells him to say his bit and Get Out!. He is still a Jerkass afterward but tones it done enough to respect Hiccup as a leader. After Snotlout gets them both stranded on an island, Hiccup calls him out for his bullying moments, and this allows Snotlout to become a better person. Not good, mind, just better.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: To a small degree; after Hiccup and Toothless crash on an early test-flight, once freed from the tree that had fallen over him, Toothless travels back to the cove despite the fact that this leaves him trapped as he was before, because he understands that otherwise Hiccup will be unable to get home
  • Hyper-Awareness: Averted; Hiccup has a great deal of trouble trying to get around after he’s blinded, requiring Toothless to give him ‘directions’ in flight and later acquiring a cane for when he’s walking around
  • I Gave My Word: Astrid vows that her axe will never hurt Hiccup again, but she is forced to break this vow when her axe is the only weapon available to amputate Hiccup’s damaged leg.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Hiccup uses this when Astrid is captured by the Outcasts, feigning surrender to Alvin so that he can attack him up-close.
  • It Can Think: Toothless not only seems to understand the implications of Hiccup’s blindfold, but later learns to make specific sounds when in flight so that Hiccup can adjust the fin and avoid crashing into anything, and even seems to repeat Astrid's name at least once.
  • It's All My Fault: Astrid has a few of these moments regarding Hiccup’s blindness.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Mildew does this after Stoick’s return to Berk to try and get Astrid excused for blinding Hiccup by arguing that she was an agent of divine justice.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Astrid has this after realising what she did to Hiccup.
  • Mythology Gag: At one point, while listening to old myths, Hiccup and Astrid muse on the similarities between them and the myth of Baldr and Hordr, making allowances for details such as the myth being about two brothers.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Mildew’s actions to try and rally support for the idea that Astrid blinding Hiccup is divine judgement create the opportunity for Hiccup and Astrid to show what they’ve learned about dragons.
  • The Peeping Tom: Technically disregarded; a traditional Viking wedding ceremony would require the rest of the tribe to watch the bride and groom to confirm that the relationship had been consummated, but Hiccup asks that this part of the tradition be ignored as he would feel uncomfortable if everyone else in the tribe got to see Astrid naked when he can never do the same.
  • Posthumous Character: It is revealed that Astrid actually had an older brother, Erik, but he was killed while a baby during a dragon raid (ironically, the same raid that resulted in the 'death' of Hiccup's mother).
  • Punished for Sympathy: Astrid’s desire to be the best contrasts with her concern for Hiccup, as she fears being perceived as weak.
  • Put On The Bus: To a degree; Hiccup doesn’t leave the village or the story, but he is dismissed from dragon training after the Zippleback lesson because his blindness is too great a handicap.
  • Reality Ensues: It takes a lot of time for Hiccup to learn to handle his disabilities, and the emotional trauma almost never handled. Hiccup still has depressive episodes and confidence issues, experiencing a particularly dark one with various foreboding slips during his wedding to Astrid.
  • Reforged Blade: Hiccup and Astrid work together to reforge Astrid’s axe.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: In a sense; Hiccup and Astrid don’t want Astrid to be punished for blinding Hiccup, and even Gobber and Stoick acknowledge that it was an accident and mainly go through with the trial as a formality, but Mildew uses the trial to argue that Astrid should be forgiven as her actions were divine judgement on Hiccup’s shortcomings.
  • Save Both Worlds: Hiccup is determined to do this to save both the Vikings and the dragons after he learns about the Red Death.
  • Scars Are Forever: As well as Hiccup’s eyes, Astrid is left with serious burns on her hands, limiting her sense of touch even if she can still actually use her hands.
  • The Social Expert: Mildew actively encourages the villagers to praise Astrid for blinding Hiccup by arguing that it proves her superiority, ignoring the fact that Astrid hates what she did.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Snotlout; he was a bully to Hiccup in canon, but here, he twice leads Hiccup into the woods and abandons him, knowing that his cousin would have trouble finding his way back to Berk and may even be in genuine risk of dying because he can’t see potential hazards. On the second occasion, Snotlout removes Hiccup’s blindfold and uses it to tie his hands together so that Hiccup’s disfiguring scars will be visible to everyone when he returns to Berk.
  • Undying Loyalty: Hiccup and Toothless, as always, but Astrid gets into this as well as she swears on her honour that she’ll never let anyone hurt Hiccup again.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: Astrid feels particular regret when she realises that, while the view from dragonback is incredible, Hiccup will never experience it
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