Hi! Recently I watched HTYD movies and TV series. Again. For the 3rd time already. And this idea just got stuck in my head. Soooo here's the result. I haven't read the books, so I won't bring any characters from them. I really hope you enjoy it.
The story takes place somewhere between "Race to the edge" and "How to train your dragon 2"
If someone is interested I would really appreciate a beta-reader :)
Disclaimer: I don't own any characters.
The village of Berk was peaceful and quiet. And on any other day it would mean the end of the world, however this particular day was special. All the noisy, smelly, beefy and sometimes rather repelling Vikings were located near the ocean, where the impressive arena for Dragon Race had been built. The day was still new, the brisk morning air still hanging around and the usual northern winds howling between the sea stacks. The sun was still low, but every self-respecting Viking was wide awake. All heads looking up at the sky, where the Berk's finest dragon riders had indulged in a fierce competition.
The cheers and loud viking voices filling the area were like music to Astrid's ears. A sportsman always needed fans and she found Vikings to be very good at that. The blood rushed through her limbs in what seemed to be the speed of her own Deadly Nadder. The stadium was packed with beefy Vikings cheering, drinking and eating. And she was sure she'll soon join them in celebration of her victory. But for now...now she had to get that God's forsaken sheep. Poor thing has spent more time on the air than where she belonged - on the ground. But Astrid couldn't allow herself to think about how no one had bothered to ask the sheep if she was okay with being repeatedly thrown in the air. The animal was just born in the wrong color. That was no ordinary sheep. That was the black sheep. Worth ten points, it was the most important sheep on the Berk.
For now, as expected, Astrid was in the lead with nine points, the Twins with six, whereas Snotlout and Fishlegs had five points both. Everyone had a chance to win. And especially eager were the boys, who had gotten tired of three consecutive loses to Astrid. And the four wins before that went to Hiccup, for no surprise whatsoever. So if someone else didn't win soon, the race should be renamed "Hiccup and Astrid winning race".
And this was a golden opportunity. This time Hiccup had some things to do on the Dragon's Edge so he didn't take part in the Race. All other riders needed to do was to outsmart Astrid, the Shield Maiden and the scariest girl on island. If they could do this (im)possible task, they could actually win.
"Okay, girl! We are doing it! I can't believe we're doing this." Fishlegs quietly rattled to himself and patted Meatlug's head. The dragon responded with a happy grumble. "It's all about the timing. Wait for it, girl..."
Astrid rapidly closed in for the basket with a big smile on her face and with Snotlout and the Twins tightly behind her. She guessed Fishlegs were somewhere behind them.
Gods knew, she was wrong.
Instead of racing after the prodigy viking, Fishlegs was hovering under the baskets, waiting. He counted out loud as Astrid got closer. His arms were trembling from the excitement, it wasn't very often when he felt such fighting spirit.
"Now, girl!" He yelled and Meatlug rushed from her hiding spot. A gasp of surprise erupted from the audience and it made Fishlegs feel even better. Like a hero saving an innocent girl. Only this time the girl looked like a sheep.
"Fishlegs?!" Astrid only managed to scream out and pull on the dragon's bridle before the black sheep got ripped away from Stormfly's claws. She urged the dragon to race after it, however the distance was too small for her to catch up in time. She could only was as Fishlegs dropped the sheep in his own basket.
"Dammit!" She hit her fist against her own leg in disappointment.
"That's fifteen! Fishlegs takes the game!" Astrid heard the Chief's announcement.
"Yes, Meatlug!" Fishlegs shouted and the crowd roared in delight for the unusual victor.
"What just happened?" Tuffnut asked a bit dumbfounded. "Wasn't Astrid supposed to win?"
"Duh, she lost!" Ruffnut hit her brother on the shoulder and then sighed."And we lost too!"
"Fi...Fishlegs just won!" Astrid pushed through gritted teeth. Somehow she had trouble admitting it. Damn, she was so close. She looked at the viking riding the Gronckle and then her own dragon. She sighed heavily and brushed some hair aside. "I won't hear the end of this from Hiccup!"
"What? No way! He probably cheated!" Snotlout shouted. "I want a rematch!"
"Of course you do, because, obviously, the world wouldn't be the same if you didn't have the last word." Astrid shook her head thinking and notice Fishlegs flying towards them. He had this victorious smile across his face and thought if that was how she looks when she wins. It was weird. Astrid didn't mind losing to Hiccup. Frankly he was better rider than her, but to lose against Fishlegs was somehow intolerable. Well, better than losing to Snotlout. She sighed. Again.
"I'll let you know, Snotlout, that using your brains does not count as cheating." Fishlegs pointed out in his usual smart-ass tone.
"We'll let them have it, Stormfly!" Astrid patted her dragon who as well seemed uneasy with the loss."They have only won it three times in the past two years anyway."
She looked at twins who had started yet another fight. From between their insults she could make out that the fight was about who's a worse rider. Their face paint was mostly gone with all the punches being thrown around, but she was too tired to say something. She doubted it would change anything either way. She'll just leave the babysitting to Hiccup when he gets back. Instead she gently nudged Stormfy to land. The others followed her lead.
"This concludes yet another fantastic Dragon Race!" Stoick announced as all the dragons landed on the wooden platform. Fishlegs stepped forward and bowed his head allowing Stoick to put on the medal. "We have witnessed an amazing race! Am I right?" The arena trembled in roars of agreement. "So let's hear it for our winners – Fishlegs and Meatlug." The cheers reached it culmination and Gobber threw a rock at the dragon, which Meatlug caught and happily ate. And Fishlegs though it was the best day in his life.
Gods knew, he was wrong.
The people started to gather in groups trying to decide where they should go to celebrate. Some of the biggest fans, mostly children, ran forward as the riders got down from their dragons. Astrid smiled as a little girl gave Stormfly a chicken.
"You'll win the next time!" She said and patted the dragon. Astrid knew her. She was their biggest fan.
"We'll make sure we do!" Astrid agreed, crossing her arms over her chest. The girl looked a bit sad however Astrid didn't feel anything else but joy. Sure, she may have lost and she had a hard time accepting that, but she still enjoyed a good dragon race. Especially if she ended up with a challenger other than Hiccup. But she'll have to keep that a secret.
"I still can't believe it!" Snotlout murmured under his nose.
"Oh, get over it!" Astrid sighed. She was about to say something more, when Stormfly suddenly looked up at the sky, startling their little fan, who was in the middle of petting her.
"What's the matter, Stormfly?" Astrid looked the same direction but didn't see anything besides the clear sky and ocean. However her dragon was tossing her head around and nervously sniffling the air. Astrid knew better than to ignore a dragon's instincts. She was about to hop on her, when the sounds of her friends' voices caught her attention.
Astrid heard the other riders call out and looked over to them. Their dragons also seemed a little jumpy. They were stomping on the ground and shaking their heads. The arena quieted down, now stressful murmurs replaced the cheering.
"What is happening?" Stoick demanded some answers, but Astrid couldn't provide anything for the chief.
"They seem to be startled by something..." She guessed and turned her attention to her dragon."Calm down, girl, everything is alright!"
Astrid noticed the other riders doing the same, but like she, they also couldn't get close to touch their dragons. They were moving around too much.
"But there's nothing out there!" Gobber insisted. He looked over the horizon and then at Stoick The Vast who knew how much dragon's senses can be trusted. And if they seemed so shaken up, he hoped whatever it is, it's not an enemy.
"Better check it out!" He said to Astrid who nodded and turned to the rest of the riders.
"Try to get on your dragons!"
"We're trying!" The Twins both responded simultaneously as they tried to get the hold of the dragons heads but they just kept evading.
Astrid decided to use force, no matter how much she didn't like the idea herself. But before she could close in on her Deadly Nadder, she shot up in the sky with the rest of the dragons.
"In Thor's name, what's happening?" Gobber commented at the sight of the best trained dragons in the Berk leaving their riders behind.
"Stormfly?" Astrid shouted with confusion and fear mixed in her voice. It was pointless, but she still ran to the edge of the wooden platform, noticing how their dragons became only a small group of dots in the sky as they flew further away.
"Eh, what just happened?" Ruffnut came behind Astrid. Astrid noticed she was gasping for air. A crowd of people gathered around them intrigued. The blond Viking got annoyed at everybody asking her the same thing. It's not like she knew the answer anyway. She wasn't Hiccup. And right now she was only a Dragon Rider without her dragon.
Apparently Stoick didn't waste time and took action. The people around started to raise questions, making different assumptions, one more unbelievable than the other, he had to get this under control before a panic could start. Viking were very good at starting a riot. He sent Spitelout to the village to observe the situation. It took a remarkably short amount of time for him to get back. And the news he carried were good too.
"All the other dragons were still there." The Viking said catching his breath.
"What? Then let's ride them, and find ours!" Snotlout suggested and then shouted at sky."I swear this day can't get any worse. First losing, then this, argh!"
Gods knew, he was wrong.
The riders approved of the idea, however Gobber stopped them before they could take a step.
"Do you hear it?"
The Vikings stopped mid tracks to listen. There were at least fifty Vikings present and all immediately quieted down.
"What?" Snotlout lost his patience after the first thirty seconds, "Let's just go."
"Shut up and listen!" The old blacksmith hushed him.
"We don't hear anything!" After five more seconds the Twins announced and earned annoyed look from both the chief and Astrid. Then a faint, familiar sound echoed from the ocean.
"Is that... ?" Stoick began and looked over to Astrid who nodded in agreement and finished the thought.
"A Night fury."
"Hiccup?" Fishlegs asked looking at the horizon. After a short while the sound repeated. This time it was much clearer. "Yep, that's defiantly a Night Fury call."
"But that's defiantly not a Night Fury!" Snotlout shouted. He pointed his finger at the sky where a black form was moving towards them. They couldn't see precisely what it was, the sun was making them look only as a large blurry shadow. However the Night Fury call sounded again.
"It sounds more like a whine!" Astrid concluded and felt something twist inside her gut. It was like a hole suddenly had formed in the pit of her stomach. She couldn't quite understand what made her feel that way but noticed her hands were trembling.
In the meantime the black shadow up in the sky divided, and now it was no doubt they were dragons.
"Wait! Barf? Belch?" Tuffnut looked up. It was defiantly them. "Hey! Our dragon came back!"
"What!" Astrid looked up and now she could see them too. That was really Stromfly and the other dragons. But what she saw next made her stomach twist. Again.
They were carrying something. The group was still too far for Astrid to to recognize what it was, but then it happened again. A heart wrenching wail reached her ears. And the voice was unmistakable. That was Toothless. The mightiest dragon she knew was wailing. Astrid and the rest of the riders didn't look away as the dragons closed in, they could see it now. Stormfly was carrying something with Hookfang and the Zippleback flying next to her and Meatlug helping her from beneath. It didn't take long to decide what it was. The black color. The curved form. That could only be a the Night Fury. And they knew only one Night Fury.
"Is Stromfly carrying Toothless?" Fishlegs voiced Astrid worries out loud.
"Why?" That was the only thing replaying in Astrid's mind. And though she asked the question herself she didn't want to know the answer. The answer to that question would probably be the reason why she had a big black hole in her gut.
She helplessly watched as Stormfly carried the black beast, her claws tightly gripped around its wings. She watched the figure as it slumped beneath her.
"Make way!" Stoick shouted to his people as the group closed in and pulled Astrid out from her day-nightmare. "Clear the area!"
The people obeyed immediately despite their curiosity and cleared way for the group of dragons to land. Only the riders, Stoick and his right hand Gobber stayed close as Stormfly and Meatlug gently laid Toothless on the ground. The black dragon wailed. His call was tearing Astrid's heart apart. She was first to run to his side, noticing how a dark, reddish substance was seeping from underneath him.
"Oh Gods, Toothless!" She called and earned the dragons attention, who weakly moved his wings. The movement made Astrid's heart stop. She seriously couldn't take any more emotional attacks anymore. The black pit in her stomach opened and it felt like she was being swallowed whole. Her head was spinning and her knees wobbled, however she forced herself to move.
"Hiccup!" A sob broke out from deep inside her.
There he was, the man she loved, the hero of Berk, chief's son and the heir to the tribe, motionless and lying on his dragon.
"Hiccup!" She shouted again, and this time the young man moved. He raised his hand in greeting. But that didn't make the girl feel any better. She didn't want that kind of greeting. Not made with a hand covered in blood. Thick, dark, red blood. A scream ripped its way through her. "No!"
"HICCUP!" Stoick's loud voice startled her from her inner shock. Somewhere between her many phases of shock she hadn't noticed that the man had outran her and already was kneeling next to his son.
The scene was overly familiar. And she knew from where - the battle with the Red Death. She didn't need a reminder for that one. He didn't need a reminder.
Astrid was soon kneeling beside him, and the sight up close made her shiver. Hiccup was lying on his stomach, blood dripping from his temple but that would be the smallest problem. What worried her more was the side he was gripping like his life depended on it. And it most likely did, judging from the amount of blood that was slipping through his fingers. His face was contracted in pain, his eyes distant and breathing labored.
"GET GOTHI!" Stoick yelled over his shoulder. Astrid looked at her chief for answers, but what she saw next to her wasn't a chief. It wasn't Stoick The Vast. It was just...Stoick. A father who was kneeling next to his bleeding son, hands covered in blood and word "desperate" written all over his face. He almost radiated fear from his body as his hands were hovering above Hiccup's body unsure what he should do. Astrid was sure he felt the same she did – powerless, useless.
"D...Dad...As...Astri...d" Hiccup mumbled. As he spoke a small amount of blood dripped from his mouth.
"Yes, son! We're here! Just hang tight, lad! Don't speak!" Stoick responded. His response was rushed mixed with fear and relief.
"Tooth...le..ss?" Hiccup didn't listen. The dragon whined beneath him.
"You're both gonna be okay! We'll take care of you." Astrid answered surprised how hoarse and broken her own voice sounded. "We'll fix you up in no time!"
Hiccup managed to squeeze out something similar to a smile and she tried to respond to him but saw a few drops falling on her hands and noticed she was crying. How miserable she must be to make jokes with tears streaming down her face.
"Gothi is here!" Fishlegs ran up from behind with Gobber and the rest of the riders.
The healer pushed Astrid aside and closely inspected the boy. Astrid walked back, to give the woman space. From the looks on the old woman's face Astrid understood that it was bad, very bad. She scraped something in the wooden boards and Gobber walked up behind her to read it. All this time Stoick didn't divert his gaze from Hiccup.
"She says we have to stop the bleeding, before we move him." Gobber read.
"How!?" Astrid asked, she didn't see anything to sew the injury closed. The healer wrote something again and Gobber read it out loud.
"We cauterize it." The moment the words sank in, what he himself had said, the big Viking paled "Oh, boy!"
Astrid felt her knees wobble again, and this time she didn't even fight it. She just fell to the ground.
"We can't do it. We...we don't have anything to lessen the pain. It's gonna be a torture." She stared at her own hands. They were red and she didn't even remember touching Hiccup.
"But we can't take him to Gothi's house, he won't make it. Even on the back of a dragon, it's a miracle he's still alive. And for Gothi to go and get her things...it's a big risk. She may not make it in time." Fishlegs explained.
"We can't!" Astrid whispered, she just couldn't allow it, just couldn't. But the answer came unexpectedly.
"Do...do it!" Hiccup gasped and Astrid looked horrifyingly at the pale man "It...it's..o...ok."
Astrid couldn't stand that painful smile, but she didn't dare to avert her gaze from his eyes. He was fighting. And they should too. Stoick sighed and nodded.
"Let's do it." His statement left Astrid astonished but she didn't object anymore. He rose up and together with Gobber both laid Hiccup on the ground, the wood already turning red beneath him. Astrid noticed the painful expression on Hiccups face when he was moved. Cauterizing a wound will be much more painful. Was he really up for it? Was she? Toothless cried out and Astrid could only guess if it was because of Hiccup's pain or his own. The look in the dragon's eyes was clear "Save him, I beg you!"
"We will." Astrid whispered. She just hoped that Toothless understood. The dragon looked back at Hiccup and she did the same.
The healer took a knife and with a swift move cut open Hiccup's clothes. Astrid wanted to look away, she really, really did, however Hiccup's deep green eyes were unyielding. And if it helped in any way to Hiccup, she was willing to get some nightmares after this. She was willing to get the nightmare for the rest of her life if Hiccup came out of this alive.
She didn't look how a Viking offered his sword to Gothi, she didn't look how the metal got heated up with the help of Hookfang and she didn't look how both Stoick and Gobber mercilessly put their arms on Hiccup to hold him down. Hiccup was looking at her and she looked back. She swore not to close the distance between her and the group treating Hiccup. Because for one, she would only be in the way and two, she didn't feel like witnessing the scene.
However the moment the hot metal touched Hiccup's skin and his body jerked away, the moment a tormenting scream tore from Hiccup's lips and he was forced to lose eye contact, she was beside him. Astrid didn't even register her feet move when she was already next to her lover.
"ASTRID, HIS HEAD!" Stoick shouted in strangled voice. She took Hiccup's head in both hands to stop him from tossing around.
"I'm here, Hiccup! I'm here. It's gonna be over soon." She whispered noticing the tears in his eyes. Hiccup tossed and screamed under their grip. Hearing his rider scream, Toothless unleashed a heartbreaking roar like he was angry at the Gods themselves. And maybe so was Astrid.
Just when Astrid thought she couldn't handle seeing this, that she'd die from just witnessing so much pain, Hiccup settled down, his eyes closed. Gothi had finished her first aid treatment.
"Hiccup?" She screamed but the man didn't open his eyes. "HICCUP!"
Toothless next to them pushed his nose against Hiccups forehead blowing a warm breath on the unconscious man.
She was horrified to see him so quiet and motionless. Were they really too late?
"It's okay, Astrid!" Stoick touched her shoulder "He's still here. He's still here."
Astrid wasn't sure if those words were meant to reassure her or Stoick himself. Stoick looked tired and like he had just aged ten more years, but then again she was sure she wasn't much better. Astrid looked at the Night Fury. She was sure the agony in her own eyes were the same as the one she saw in Toothless'. For a brief moment she almost felt like her soul was reflecting Toothless'.
It was decided that Hiccup would be moved to his house rather than Gothi's. Vikings brought forth a stretcher and Hiccup was gently moved from the ground. Toothless was laid on the net, so the other dragons could take him to Gobber's house.
"He'll be okay, Toothless! I'll make sure of it." Astrid stroked Toothless' head. She sighed in relief at sight of Toothless finally calming down even if it seemed only as the tip of the iceberg melted.
She gave signal for the rest of the riders. "Go!"
Please review! I'd love to hear what you say about this.
Till next time...