Defenders city. The new home for the Haddocks. Stoick was gone most of the time in order to keep up with his old jobs. He would stay in motels for days at a time, only coming home ever few days. His son had suffered separation anxiety for a while, but eventually came to realize dad always came home at some point.
On the carpet of the small Haddock house in Defenders City sat a three year old little boy. He'd recently past his third birthday, and was as maneuverable and sneaky as ever. He still never talked other than the occasional 'Ma' and 'Da' and 'Cat', but one could easily tell what was wrong if he started crying. Reason being the toddler hardly ever cried, so if he did, it was almost an instinct to go into immediate action.
Hiccup lay on his stomach on the floor, petting a kitten with tiny hands. Cloudjumper had brought a mate home, one who was blind and ill. The Haddocks knew if they gave her up, the young mother would be put down. Hence, Valka, Stoick, and Hiccup had an independent male cat, a clumsy female, and four kittens running around the house.
Valka stepped out of the kitchen with a pot of pasta and a glass bole of corn in both hands. "Well look who's taken on being babysitter." She chuckled. Hiccup made a loud squeal like sound in happiness, before patting the kitten's head and sitting with his back against the side of the couch. Valka set her two dishes down, before walking over to her son.
"You wanna come get lunch?" Hiccup shook his head, before finding the TV remote interesting and climbing over to it. Valka quickly scooped the boy up in her arms, nuzzling her nose into his neck causing him to squeal. Hiccup squirmed in her grasp, yelling out in frustration. Eventually he gave up, and went limp in his mother's arms, glaring at her the hole trip to the table.
"Oh don't be like that little one." Valka said softly. She placed the toddler in a high seat, putting a little tray over the arms of his chair. Hiccup made a sort of growling noise in his throat, crossing his arms. His mood was quickly changed when he saw his favorite food be set on his plate.
"Now, now, don't be so messy!" Hiccup didn't listen one bit. By the time the thirty minute lunch had ended, about half his corn was on his shirt, half of it was in his stomach, and a few Cheerios were on the floor (Valka's main question was how they got all the way to the TV)
The Kitchen was small and near the back of the house with the dining table right behind the counter. Valka and Stoick's room was down the hallway, last door on the left. Hiccup slept in a small room in a play pin across from theirs. Next to the master bedroom was a bathroom. Next to the dining room was the living room which was really only a small room with a box TV, long red couch, leather recliner, and Hiccup's mat. There wasn't even room for a coffee table. Upstairs were two more rooms on either side of a short hallway. Under those stairs was a closet, and at the end of that hallway was a play room. Old house, not the best appliances, decent in size, and therefor easy to pay for. Defenders city really was a helpful one, but things were a bit more expensive than on Berk because the larger population.
After lunch finally ended and Hiccup was washed up, the little boy sat on the floor once more with his mother next to him. He only wore his green shorts, making his slightly swollen shorter left leg completely visible. Valka had hoped it would get better, and even though the bones continued growing, they were still deformed. Growth spurts were a pain to deal with I'll tell you that.
Speaking of growth spurts, Valka sighed as she remembered just how underdeveloped her Toddler was. He couldn't speak, didn't make the noise a normal toddler was, was tiny compared to most, and couldn't walk. Some days his leg made it impossible to even crawl.
Trips to the store weren't easy either. People would look at Valka's boy with curiosity and confusion. It was easy to notice his shorter left leg, and the freckles covering his torso and face. It would be different if he was your typical freckled baby who was in the sun too much. This was different though. Some of the freckles, Valka had counted ten of them so far, were almost as big as her hand and lined the side of his torso under his arms and his groin area. The boy normally got itchy too do to little bumps that formed on his arms for unknown reasons. Anti itch cream or bug repellant never helped, so it obviously wasn't the doing of mosquitos or the cat's occasional flees.
When going out to restaurants or stores, there was no telling when Hiccup might have one of his occasional spurts of pain. If Valka accidently sat him up wrong in the seat of a buggy, or if he tried to stand on the chair at a McDonalds in an attempt to mimic the other kids there, the crying could last for fifteen minutes at a time. The worst part was the young mom had no idea what had hurt her son or how bad his leg really was.
Hopefully today would be a different day. Yes Hiccup and Valka were going to be going out which raised risk for a painful episode, but in the end everything should be better. Here recently Hiccup's doctor referred him to a Primary care doctor in Defenders city close to home. Only a few days ago after lab testing and different scans to figure out what was wrong with Hiccup's leg, Valka received the breath taking, mind blowing, heart squeezing phone call that there was finally a diagnosis for her son. If Hiccup could have something to go by, something to tell doctors and specialists, then they could finally look for a cure or at least medications to help.
"You ready to see Doctor Ingerman?" Valka asked. Hiccup didn't listen, and continued laying on his stomach while playing with the little strings in the carpet. "Hiccup?" The boy looked up for a moment, green eyes filled with curiosity. Valka smiled, before picking up her boy and setting in her lap, causing the toddler to coo and squeal.
"Can you say 'Doctor'?" Valka tried. Many mothers had toddlers who spoke and interacted with other kids. Hiccup didn't seem to even want to learn new words. He was curious about objects, lights, and even sound. What he didn't find interest in was walking, socializing, or talking.
As honestly expected, Hiccup simply went right back to playing with a string on Valka's jacket as if nothing had happened. He felt safe in his mother's arms, and seemed to now he needed an adults help to get around. This meant that he could sit in one's lap examining random objects for hours without complaint. Other toddlers wanted to run from one place to the other, hide from their parents, and occasionally throw temper tantrums. Hiccup couldn't walk, could hardly crawl without stumbling, and could talk. He couldn't do what other toddlers did.
With a sigh, Valka stood up and held her boy close to her chest. Hiccup hummed in contentment, closing his eyes and almost imediatly falling asleep with his face buried in his mother's chest. Valka new the toddler didn't like the doctor, so was grateful he was getting his rest now, knowing he would be wound up later.
As the doctors office came into view, Valka parked her small grey car in the parking lot. The back seat had boxes and umbrellas, so Hiccup's car seat was in the front passenger seat. The boy sensed the car stopping, and woke up from a long nap. He imediatly saw the doctors office, and pointed to the big double doors while shaking his head.
Valka sighed as she knew what was to come next. "Don't worry baby. No needles, no cold hands. We're just here to get results." Of course Hiccup didn't listen to the advice given. What toddler did? He shook his head again, pointing to the double doors as his mother opened his door.
It was a struggle to unbuckle the squirming boy, but Valka eventually had him secured in her arms. Hiccup held tightly to her chest with one hand, though glared at the building they were approaching with his other hand clenched into a fence. He yelled out with a gruff tone, an odd imitation of how he saw his father. Valka shook her head, and tried to get her boy to lay his head on her shoulder so he didn't see everything around him. The office inside and odd smells only scared Hiccup more.
After a while of sitting in the waiting room, Hiccup and Valka sat down on a bed in one of the rooms. Hiccup shivered against the cold, burying his face in his mother's chest. Doctor Ingerman, an elder woman with long orang-brown hair and green eyes, entered the room with a warm smile.
"Well good afternoon Hiccup. How's my favorite boy doing?" Hiccup turned to face the doctor, and his gaze went down to the floor. He made no eye contact, and grunted as if in annoyance. "Still no fan of doctors I see?" Valka chucked lightheartedly, tickling Hiccup's side and earning a happy squeal.
"You've got that right. He doesn't talk, but it's easy to tell. The hole time we were entering the building he wouldn't stop shaking his head 'no' and glaring at the doors. I think he gets the scary face from his father." Doctor Ingerman laughed this time, before taking Hiccup's tiny hand and shaking it. The toddler imediatly began warming up to her as he did every time they came here, and reached out his arms. Doctor Ingerman had no problem setting him on her knee and rocking her spinning chair from side to side, making Hiccup tired again.
"Yes. I'm a little worried about his slow development in speech, but that's sometimes common with someone like him." Valka now had her eyes fixed on the doctor, her ears listening for the words she wanted to hear so badly. My son's alright. We can fix his leg and there's a medication for whatever illness he has. Valka hoped to herself, though deep down she feared something else.
"I know you came here for answers today Valka, but you must know as a Doctor I sometimes have to give you answers you may not like..." Valka nodded her head, holding her baby close. "After running our tests, the office has come to realize your son has something called Neurofibromatosis type one. NF1 is a genetic disorder, either inherited or caused by a mutation."
Valka took in what the doctor said, and her eyes suddenly widened as she processed what was being said. "A genetic disorder? Is it dangerous?" Doctor Ingerman smiled warmly, waving the worry off with her hand. "NF1 isn't usually dangerous, though it can cause dangerous symptoms like high blood pressure. High blood pressure isn't extremely common in NF1, and many people live with it."
"The diagnosis isn't as dangerous as it causes complications. Symptoms can include developed scoliosis, migraines, freckling under the arms or in the groin area, none cancerous tumors, and so fourth. I've printed off some papers you can take home and read." Doctor Ingerman handed Valka the papers, holding onto Hiccup who tried to get off her lap and onto the floor.
Valka nodded, feeling both nervous for her son and relieved for the answers. "Migraines...that explains his sudden headaches and sensitivity. I once worked with kids who had them. None cancerous tumors...are those dangerous?" She questioned in a quiet voice.
"I can't say rather they're dangerous or not Mrs. Haddock because it always depends. Some don't even develop them, others develop many. We'll have to keep an eye on your son's development before those kinds of conclusions can be made." Valka nodded, and grabbed her son just as they were about to leave.
"Thank you Doctor Ingerman." Valka thanked the doctor as they were about to leave the front doors to Hiccup's relief. "No problem Valka. If you need help with developmental recourses after doing your own research, my husband and I are always ready to help. We know what it's like to be raising a little one who's disabled."
Valka smiled sympathetically and nodded. "Your grandson?" Doctor Ingerman smiled sadly as well. "We couldn't just let him go after his parents...you know. It's just hard dealing with a blind-deaf child with a tendency to get into trouble as much as Fishlegs does."
Valka looked down at Hiccup, a friend to the Ingerman's boy despite their differences. The two would build together even though Fishlegs could hardly see. It was proven he could see a little bit, though was completely deaf. Hiccup didn't talk anyways, and didn't care if his friend could see him. Fishlegs would lay on his stomach while stacking two or three blocks at a time. Hiccup would build a little tower, using Fishleg's structures as supports. It was their most favorite thing to do. The Ingerman's boy was only a few months older than the Haddock's, Hiccup born in February, Fishlegs in June.
"I can only imagine. If you and your husband ever need it, I'm sure Hiccup would love to have a playdate with your grandson. Fishlegs is honestly the only other toddler I've ever seen him socialize with." Both woman chuckled and shared a handshake, before Valka and Hiccup went home to do their research.