It's time for Plugs!
First, I've been beta-ing for my friend Hapciuovici and his story A New Legend. It's very good, and if you want action, I highly recommend it!
Then, I have to mention my nearest and dearest friend in the whole world (She saved my life, that's all) ThisIsEntertaining! All of her work is phenomenal, but she just posted her first HTTYD story. It's the story from Toothless' perspective, and while that may seem cliche, she does a fantastic job with it.
She's a better writer than I am.
It's called Downed Dragon, and it's just a oneshot, but I urge everyone to go read it! She's also doing a Rise of the GuardiansXWhite Collar crossover that's really neat! So yes, everyone should go read her stuff and send her nice things because I love her so much!
Ahem, on to the story.
Astrid stood rigidly still as her words still echoed on in the great hall. Fragonard stared at her blankly, probably trying to digest the information she just spat.
"What?" He asked.
"You heard me."
He attempted to laugh, but it came out as a nervous squeak. "You're kidding, right?"
"I don't joke when I hold an axe in my hand." She shook it for emphasis. "I'm going to plant this blade in your skull, and I'd rather not get in trouble for it."
"What makes you so sure you could beat me in an Einvigi?" He huffed.
The head of the axe buried into the wood of the table, slicing it cleanly in half. "I. Don't. Lose."
He gulped and then faked an air of smugness. "You're full of hot air." He claimed.
The blonde lowered her tense shoulders ever so slightly. "Am I? Well, then you would have no reason to fear a fight with me, would you?"
He breathed slowly.
"So, what's it going to be? Duel with me and probably die, or deal with Stoick and definitely die?"
He looked to her sheepishly. "Well, when you put it like that…when's the fight?"
"Tomorrow night. Sunset. Prepare, because I will." And with that, she yanked the blade from the splintering wood and stomped out of the Great Hall, Gobber following quickly behind.
"Wut happened?" He stuttered, since he had been in the hall the whole time.
"I found Hiccup," she started, her breaths ragged. "And that dirtbag in there," she pointed, "was the reason he was missing!"
"Where is 'e now?"
"Up at home. The healers are looking at him now."
"Beard of Thor, what did he do this time?"
"Beat him within an inch of his life." She bit. Her axe spun in her hand like a comforting friend. "I barely recognized him."
Gobber sighed. "So Stoick knows what you did then?"
"Yes, I told him I would."
"Okay. Well, on the bright side, Fragonard will die in either outcome."
"I need to get my honor back," she stated, "and I don't want to do it by taking away Hiccup's." With those words, she disbanded into the village.
A Gronkle puttered through the sky before landing in front of her. "Astrid!" Fishleg's called, dismounting his dragon. "Thank Odin I found you! I found this!" And he shoved Hiccup's prosthesis into Astrid's arms. It was in ill repair.
She narrowed her eyes. "Where did you find this?"
"On the East side of the island, like, as far east as you can go. It was up in tree." He glanced at it, scratching his chin. "Now, if we could just find the rest of him…"
"I did. He's up at the house." Her expression didn't change.
Fishlegs put a hand on his chest and sighed in relief. "Oh good! I was afraid we wouldn't find him!"
"The healers are with him now, but you can call the others back."
"Wait, the healers? Why? What happened?"
She didn't give a direct answer. "I found him a few miles east of the village, I guess he had been crawling back from where you found this." Bitterness was evident in her voice.
Fishlegs' eyes widened. "Where's Toothless?"
"Up sitting with him." She shrugged. "Now, go call off the search. I know Snotlout will be upset if we make him do more work then necessary."
The cubby boy nodded once before reaching out and tentatively grabbing her arm. "I'm sorry Astrid. I should have…we should have been there for you. We're terrible friends."
She smirked. "I forgive you."
He knew he would have to make it up to her, but for the time being, he nodded gratefully and went to call back the other teens.
The next person to approach the blonde was a man four times her size, but with an eighth of her confidence. Hamish, the chief of the Shivering Shores, and the father of Fragonard.
"Lass…are you certain you want to go through with this?"
She narrowed her eyes at him. "There's nothing you can do to save him. He's gone too far this time, and he has to face the consequences."
"I know that." He huffed. "Look…I know that Fragonard is a soul in turmoil, ever since he lost his brother, he hasn't been the same. Bloodthirsty, reckless…"
His brother? She wondered. Hiccup did say something about another brother named Bertrand, but she didn't give it much thought.
"I know he has to fess up to his crimes, and maybe, he can be cleansed of his sins if he does. No, lass, Astrid is it? I worry about you. I hope you know what you're doing. Acting out of anger is not strength, but blindness."
She considered his words with deep contemplation, then determinedly answered. "It's not anger, it's devotion. I'm doing this for Hiccup, not for myself."
He couldn't help but smile, just a little. It wasn't exactly the most appropriate response when talking to a girl that was going to fight your son to the death, but she earned it. With just those words, Astrid proved that revenge for her own fate wasn't on her agenda.
She earned his respect.
"Odin, what a mess." The chief sighed, a hand sliding down his face. "I guess I'll be torn, he's my son after all."
With a scornful smile, the chief left her, without a word.
Astrid decided that she should go up and check on Hiccup. She at least needed to hear what damage was done, because she would end up taking care of him anyway. Steeling herself for the worst, the blonde trekked up the hill.
As soon as she entered the door, she could hear strained cries of pain. Not exactly shouts, but whatever sound the boy could make with a collapsed lung.
Astrid bit her lip and ascended the stairs. Stoick spotted her immediately from his spot holding down his shoulders. The boy thrashed as the healers scrubbed the dirt from his open wounds.
"Astrid! Take his hand!"
She hurried to his side and pried his limb from it's clamped spot on the bed boards. Instantly, his strength culminated into his hand as he held on with a vice grip. Astrid grimaced as his fingers curled around hers almost painfully. She marveled at the strength in a hand not much larger then her own. Working in forge really made a difference. Delicately, she ran her free hand up and down his arm in a comforting way, and placed soft kisses on his knuckles. His shrieks dulled and all that was heard was long, exhausted breathing.
Sweat clung to his auburn locks, most of which were concealed with bandages. His eyelashes twitched as his brow furrowed. Hiccup was exhausted, and Astrid could barely believe that he made it this long without drifting off.
It was scary enough to think he was in that much pain.
As Goði gently rubbed a waxy salve onto his chest, the girl listened to the other healer talking to Stoick. The chief finally relinquished his grip on Hiccup's shoulders.
"Make sure he gets plenty of rest. I know it will kill him, but there will be no high flying until his punctured lung heals. It should take a few days before he can breathe normal again." He surveyed the boy once again. "Most of his injuries should heal within the next couple of days. The burns on his good foot will probably hurt for awhile, and the lacerations on his residual limb may cause an onslaught of phantom pain or shock. I'm not sure about that though. His hand is broken, more specially three bones in his palm, and his middle and index finger. I've set the bones, but that will take a couple weeks to heal, plus a few months to get his full range of motion back. It wasn't a serious break, so once it's healed, there should be no lasting problems."
Stoick looked hopeful, before he asked, "what about his head?"
The healer looked much too grim. "Now that, I'm not sure about. His skull is fractured, so he may be a bit out of sorts when he wakes up. Speech might be slurred and disjointed, there will be confusion and memory loss. All in all, we can't know the severity until he can speak."
Soft snoring was heard and the two looked to Hiccup who had finally passed into unconsciousness.
"Correction, when he wakes up." The healer collected the spare bandages. "Keep ice on his eyes to keep the swelling down. I'll be back to check on him tomorrow." And with that, he left. Goði was not far behind either.
"I've got it, sir." Astrid said calmly.
"Ye need to prepare for tomorrow." He countered.
"The fight is tomorrow night. I'll stay here for the rest of the night. He needs me, Stoick."
The large man couldn't argue with that. Especially since she was most likely better at caring for patients. He agreed and left to get the ice the healer had suggested.
For the first time since entering the room, Astrid noticed that Toothless sat up on a beam. His eyes were riveted to the invalid, as his head rested on his massive paws. No doubt the dragon didn't know what to do or how to help. He had probably got pushed away by the healers, but didn't want to leave. Horrible, agonizing concern poured from his eyes.
Listlessly, Astrid stood and went to the bed that was unoccupied. A little push from her legs, and the cot slid across the floor and pressed against the used bunk, now creating one large bed.
"Toothless, you can come down now."
The dragon gently slipped off the beam and on to the floor. He sauntered over and crawled up on the bed, shifting to be nice and close without touching him. His nose pressed into Hiccup's hair. A sad murmur sang from his throat.
"I know, but he'll be okay."
Stoick was up not too long after with a ice block wrapped in cloth, and a bucket of clean water.
"I'll bring you up some dinner later, try to eat, lass."
The idea of food was not appealing to the blonde, but she was loosing weight fast. She nodded in resigned agreement.
And so she watched him, not saying a word, but holding his hand and keeping conversation with her eyes. Her thumb skirted over his knuckles of their own accord. She kept the ice block on his eyes, alternating between them to keep him comfortable. When the ice finally melted, she dabbed his sweat away with the wet cloth. When Stoick brought her food, she made sure to give him broth with a spoon. Soon, the sun had set and Astrid felt a heaviness in her lids.
She never considered herself softhearted. Maybe she wanted to wear her mother's wedding dress, and maybe she liked looking at her father's dagger that he had given her. She wouldn't admit to that either way. But with Hiccup it was different. She kept his flowers, as memories of his sweet words and her tender kisses. She memorized his doodles, appreciating his talents and perspective. And in this moment, seeing his chest rise and fall in staccato rhythms, she made another decision to consciously be soft. She raised herself to sit next to him and kicked off her boots. Her shoulder pads and armored skirt joined them on the floor. Just for tonight, she wanted to hold him. To feel a warm mass in her arms, the truth that he was really truly here. She wanted his scent to overwhelm her senses, her eyes to soak in his freckles.
So she laid beside him. Her arm came around to cradle his head as Toothless looked to her in confusion.
"We can share." She whispered back.
Her free arm draped across his shoulders and caressed his battered chest. His hair was so soft against her chin, she smiled. One leg drew over his and she snuggled close to him.
Maybe love wasn't too strong a word.
In the morning, Astrid roused with a bit of a startle. For a moment, she didn't recognize her surroundings. But she settled back down almost immediately after. Toothless and Hiccup still slept soundly, no outward evidence of either waking in the night.
Except for Hiccup's hand that rested on her own.
A blanket covered their forms and the dishes from last night had been cleared away. She figured that Stoick had come up in the night to check on them and did it.
With a soft peck to his brow, Astrid rose and began to compose herself for the day. She had a lot to prepare for, after all.
She dressed comfortably, and shouldered her axe. A part of her wanted to stay with Hiccup until he woke up, but she needed to warm up and practice. Still, he'd be safe with Toothless and doubtless that Stoick would come up and check on him often.
Satisfied, she went downstairs, made a little breakfast, then left.
The woods at the entrance of the cove was her favorite spot to practice. The trees had been softened by her blade and they were a perfect distance apart for throwing. The rocks nearby often became the perch for Hiccup as he came to vent to her about his dad.
"Nice form." She could hear his voice in her head. "That tree won't mess with you again."
Soon, the blonde fell into a pleasant repetition of landing the axe in the bark. It cleared her head, and relaxed her tension.
She heard a crack of a tree branch and turned quickly, axe raised.
"I thought I'd find you here." A deep voice said. Her axe lowered as she met the face of the last person she expected to see.
Her lip quivered as she became breathless.
"Hello, my dear." His countenance was sordid. "I heard about the fight."
He awkwardly shifted his weight onto one foot. "So, he hurt Hiccup?"
"Pretty badly, actually."
"The bastard." He huffed, glancing at the trees.
"Dad, why are you here? I thought…"
"I know. And, I don't expect you to forgive me right away, that must have been very painful."
She searched his face, hopeful.
In his hand, he carried his axe, twisting it in his grasp. "Maybe, you're more comfortable with your axe, but…this is my axe. The axe with the family crest on it…it would do me proud to see you carry it with you."
"We're all behind you Astrid."
Her axe fell to the dirt as she rushed to him. She threw her arms around him as he held her tight to his chest. His beard tickled her nose, and she knew that she was home. "Oh papa!"
"I'm so sorry, Astrid. I was such a fool. I like to think that I'm progressive, now that we are friends with the dragons, but in reality, I'm just as stubborn and blind as ever."
Tears bit at her eyes. "It's okay, dad."
"I love you so much Astrid, regardless of what happens to you."
"I love you too, dad."
"Now," He said, pulling away to look at her. "Training with trees is all good and well, but if you're fighting someone, you need some one-on-one training." He lifted her axe. "Now, come at me like you're trying to kill me."
When Hiccup finally cracked his crusty eyes open, sun was filtering in through his window. His throat was dry, but he didn't feel the need for water. He ached all over, a dull low pain, but pressure culminated at the back of his head, making him woozy. He felt a huff of hot breath on his neck and turned slightly, meeting black scales. He panicked for a moment, seeing a dragon in his bed, but then realized it was, in fact, his own dragon. Something about missing teeth. His vision swam with browns and tans of furniture of his room. His head was spinning.
Toothless gave a loud warble next to him, making his eye cross.
Hiccup's broken hand lifted and patted against the muzzle of the beast. His finger pressed against his own lips in an effort to quell the noise.
Stoick came into the room, hearing Toothless. "Well, it's about time you woke up, sleepyhead."
Hiccup turned his head to the speaker and studied this large man. He knew he should speak and give some witty reply, but the motivation to open his mouth with nil.
"Quite the fight you got in, huh?" Stoick was waiting for the reply, 'You should see the other guy.' But he was met with silence and a completely blank face instead.
Hiccup knew this man. Knew him well, in fact. His name was…something with a 'D'.
Dad! That was it. Duh.
"Won't you say something?"
He could do that. That was okay. "Ssss…" Mmm, maybe not. His nose crinkled and he opened his mouth. "Ssssss…ssoom…ssoooommm…" He never remembered talking being so hard.
"It's okay, don't strain yourself." The chief rested a hand on his head.
"Ssssssooooommmmmm! Sssooommmttthhhh—th—th—th…" His head jerked at each sound, as if it took his whole being to stay one syllable. "SOME—TH-TH-THING!" He cried.
Stoick looked horrified.
"Some-thing! Some—thing! Some—thing!" Hiccup ranted, punching his fist on the bed frame. It was the only word he had, and a message needed to be conveyed. What that message was, he wasn't quite sure himself.
"Hiccup, calm down!"
"SOMETHING!" He shouted, the crackling in his lungs apparent in his ranting. Like a fire, pain erupted from his leg. He craned his head around and shrieked more.
His leg was gone. His left leg, was missing. And it hurt.
"Toothless! Hold him still, I'm going for the healer."
The dragon nudged his shoulder with his head, and brought him down to recline. Hiccup was breathing heavily, in a panic. But then, slowly, his clouded mind began to clear and he remembered, but the night before was still a bit fuzzy. He was Hiccup Horrendous Haddock, son of the chief Stoick the Vast, and the first viking to befriend a dragon. He also saved Berk from the tyrannical rule of the Red Death, at the expense of his leg. Still, everything hurt and he couldn't remember why.
The door slammed open and hurried footfalls clambered up the stairs. "Hiccup!" His father hurried into the room, followed by the healer and Gobber. "It's okay, just calm down."
He was calm, wasn't he? Maybe not, judging by the harshness of his breathing. He tried to sit up, but Toothless still weighed him down.
The healer gently took his face and tilted it into the sunlight. He surveyed his eyes. "Talk to me." He commanded.
"Hhhhrrrr—ccckk—mmmm…fffaaaahhhh…" He uttered, brilliantly.
"Hmm…that's what I was afraid of." The man said, letting go. "Well, I have bad news and I have good news, and then I have worse news. "
"Okay." Stoick urged, straightening his shoulders.
"Hiccup is having difficulties speaking because of his head injury, in fact, he's having a partial seizure."
"What?" The chief asked, bewildered.
Hiccup's arm groped in the air of it's own accord.
"His eyes. One pupil is fully dilated, while the other is not. His irises are shaking, that was the main give away."
"What's the good news?"
"It's temporary. It won't last forever."
"Then what's the worse news?"
"I don't know how long it will take him to recover afterwards or how long the seizure will last. Maybe a few minutes, maybe hours…maybe days." The healer sat down on the bed and checked the bandages as Hiccup shook his head, his eyes riveted on Stoick. "All in all, he's not going to be doing anything for awhile."
"I'll kill him!" The large man shouted. "I'll kill that— that—!" His face was as red as his beard.
"Ssssoooomm—someth— th— th— th—…" Hiccup's head lurched with each sound, his eyes squeezed shut in concentration.
"Maybe you shouldn't yell Stoick, it's upsetting the lad." Gobber offered.
The large man sighed, and nodded. "I need some air." He hurried from the room, unable to face his son anymore.
"JJJ—…GGoo—Bbb…" Hiccup tried.
"What's wrong boy-o?"
The mutilated boy waved his broken hand around, his lips forming a pout of hard confusion.
"You were beaten up, Hiccup." The older man told him. "By that creep, Frag'o'nard. You took some hits to the head, and…you'll be better soon."
"Yes, just get plenty of rest, and try to keep as still as possible."
As he said it, the boys shoulders heaved in rapid succession. Toothless pressed harder to hold him steady.
"Maybe I spoke too soon." The doctor sighed.
"I believe it would. You were a bloody mess. You're lucky Astrid found you when she did, you might be fairing far worse than you are now."
At the sound of Astrid's name, the memories of last night surfaced. The warmth of the forge, the heat from her trailing hands, the spark of their kiss. He carried her to bed, and then he worked on the wedding ring and—
The wedding was today! He had to get up! Astrid needed him!
He fought to rise, despite the heavy weight that pinned him. He groaned as fire spread through his body. Fire like-
The hours of torture hit him like an instantaneous storm. Searing flesh, tearing skin, crimson tears and shouts that were never loud enough. Teeth grit, nails dug into the dirt, and blood...
Blood was split like a river.
His revelation came suddenly, as did the pain, and he arched his back with inhuman shrieks. Involuntary screams, ones of a dying animal.
He needed help, needed someone to hold him, to take all this pain away. He needed...
Thank you to everyone who voted on the last chapter! We are at a tie, so voting is still open (and will be until the day I post the next story!) Haha!