Reviews for Gear Shift
KN Hudson chapter 9 . 9/10
These next few chapters are hard to read, but things have to get bad before they get better, I suppose. Poor Hiccup, it's starting to be too much for him. I love how you point out how Stoick and Astrid are trying so hard to make Hiccup feel loved, but they don't understand that Hiccup can't trust it because he fears that he could lose them if he messes up badly enough.

I also love how Toothless is the one who really sees how much Hiccup is hurting, but he isn't able to communicate effectively enough with the humans, and no, he can't heal Hiccup's pain on his own-because he was never the one who hurt him.

Typical of Hiccup that he could pull himself together enough to help Thundercry. He is the sort of person who will always do more for others than for himself.
KN Hudson chapter 8 . 9/10
I have a difficult time picturing Ruffnut being a housewife who sews and gossips-no wonder she felt so out of place. Astrid wouldn't fit in with that, either, actually. Glad Berk seems to be a little more enlightened.

I love how Ruffnut and Tuffnut both wanted their own space from each other, but when they got it, it wasn't really what they wanted. They just want to be recognized as individuals, not seen as interchangeable parts.

Love the Ruffnut and Hiccup bonding and how Ruffnut is growing up and seeing other perspectives-she may be the first to see how the parents of the village are not always considerate of the children, their own and others, and how they not-so-subtly contributed to Hiccup being the village 'mistake'. It's a nice parallel with how Tuffnut was one of the first to realize that Hiccup was 'broken'.
KN Hudson chapter 7 . 8/31
It’s such an interesting idea of Stoick’s father having a metal foot. It does make you wonder how things might have been different if he were around to interact with Hiccup. It seems very insightful too, how Stoick never really thought about the reality of someone having to deal with a prosthetic limb until his own son did. How his own father and most of the other villagers with prosthetics keep all the pain hidden, but with Stoick living with Hiccup, he can see first-hand how traumatic it is. I think this is part of what enables Stoick to develop more empathy.

And it’s so sad to see how Stoick wants to, and believes that he does, accept people as they are, but he missed doing that with his own son. Once again they talk in circles around each other and never connect—even though they both want to. Your writing is masterful-you make both of them sympathetic, although it’s frustrating that Stoick just can’t see what Hiccup needs, and although Hiccup tries to tell him, it’s hard for him to be that vulnerable and open with his father.
A beautiful, but sad chapter!
KN Hudson chapter 6 . 8/27
I really like your Astrid. She is strong, but also thoughtful and a genuinely loving person. It's interesting because she is normally self-confident, but she still has moments of doubting. She and Hiccup are a lovely couple, because although they don't always see things from the same perspective, they are always willing to learn from one another and consider the other's POV.
joniskpelare chapter 14 . 8/25
Great story. Thanks for sharing!
KN Hudson chapter 5 . 8/22
This is such a beautiful chapter. Another favorite one.

I think it is absolutely true that Stoick always loved Hiccup, but as you wrote, he didn’t always like him. Hiccup’s strengths and talents are so different from Stoick’s own that he couldn’t recognize and appreciate him for a long time.

I loved the descriptions of Hiccup throughout his early childhood and it is so easy to see how Stoick found it difficult to connect. I bet the Stoick-at-the-end-of-the-story wishes so much to go back in time and show his younger self how to relate. But the sad fact is that if Hiccup hadn’t been so lonely, he wouldn’t have been so desperate to befriend Toothless either.

Love how protective Toothless is! I’m sure it would seem strange to Stoick though, because he and Toothless were getting along, and he doesn’t realize that Hiccup has been confiding in his dragon about the past.

Great parallel with Snotlout struggling for his father’s approval too.

It’s sad that Stoick is mis-reading Hiccup’s insecurities even now, that he can’t see that what Hiccup needs is to know that his father loves him unconditionally, that he worries that Stoick might turn on him or disown him again if he messed up badly enough. I don’t believe that Stoick would-I don’t believe that Stoick truly meant it even in the movie-but of course Hiccup is understandably afraid of that.

Again, I really loved the chapter.
KN Hudson chapter 4 . 8/19
And just when I was hating Snotlout, he proves he actually does have a heart-buried deep down.

He does have a lot of insight, more than you would expect him, and I did laugh about the twins actually making Hiccup a tail fin. They do mean well, lol.
KN Hudson chapter 3 . 8/16
This is one of my favorite chapters-though I have a lot of favorite chapters, lol! But it does such a beautiful job showing the deep friendship and love between Hiccup and Toothless, as well as really beginning to show Hiccup's emotional trauma.

It was sweet how Toothless was remembering the first days in the cove, and the parallel of both of them being so desperately lonely and healing each other. I loved how Hiccup restored not just the missing tail fin, but also Toothless' self-esteem, simply by befriending him when Toothless felt shamed by the loss. And how now, Toothless wants to do the same for his friend/brother.

Good job of portraying Hiccup's issues with his prosthetic leg. I'm sure it would be agonizingly difficult to accept emotionally and physically, especially in the beginning. I was touched that he really grasped that it had been difficult for Toothless too, to lose his tail fin, though I'm glad that Toothless considered it worth the price of friendship.

One can really see how far Hiccup and Stoick’s relationship develops over the course of your story. Obviously Stoick loves Hiccup—we can see his concern when Hiccup is suffering physical pain, and as Toothless tells us, he can be affectionate-but only when Hiccup is unconscious. He’s not yet comfortable being demonstrative when his son would be aware of it. When Stoick speaks to him about the incident with Astrid, he’s only lecturing and talking at Hiccup, not with him. He’s still keeping everything at face value-not digging underneath the surface to the truth of the situation.

But it’s the relationship between Hiccup and Toothless that is the heart and soul of HTTYD, and the scene in the cove was beautiful. Toothless is so wise and aware of Hiccup’s needs. I always love seeing the two of them bond.

Beautiful chapter!
KN Hudson chapter 2 . 8/15
You portray the twins better than anyone I've seen! They're very difficult to write. Tuffnut is such a mix of a comic idiot and a wise old sage. Oddly enough, he seems to be one of the first to realize that Hiccup is indeed 'broken'.

And I laughed at the part where Hiccup says that you need to be sincere about an apology and Tuff is thinking 'that explains so much'.

Great writing!
KN Hudson chapter 1 . 8/14
I don't know if you're still checking on this site, but I did want to tell you that this is an incredible story, one of the best I've read and one that has inspired me to try HTTYD fanfic.

There is so much depth and realism. After all the years of neglect, emotional abuse, and bullying, of course, Hiccup would have issues. Even though he wants to let it go, those wounds can't heal by ignoring them. I love how you brought that out, and had everyone move from pretending nothing was wrong to accepting that the past had to be acknowledged and cleansed before healing could happen.

In this chapter, I really admire Astrid. She could have easily just been angry, but she looked beyond that to see her own faults, to make an effort to understand Hiccup's feelings, and to change herself. That's incredible really, at her age-admitting your own mistakes and changing yourself is such a hard thing to do.

I especially liked the line about how she would support him until he realized that he deserved to defend himself-and the irony that she would be the first one Hiccup would defend himself from. But maybe it isn't irony at all, perhaps it was Astrid's committment that gave Hiccup the confidence to speak up (or act up) with her first.

Anyway, it is a beautiful story and I wanted you to know how much I loved it.
ThermiteHawk chapter 14 . 6/17
The relating back to the title is always a too cheesy ending for me but still liked the fic
lilo202 chapter 5 . 4/30
This chapter was a gut punch and a half.

Maybe it's just because this hits close to home but reading the conversation between Stoick and Hiccup was hard. Stoick has good intentions but it's so easy to see how he went wrong, both in the past and in the present.

And it's just... he tries to help, but he thinks Hiccup has doubts in his abilities, when what he actually doubts is others' unconditional love, which may be the worst conclusion Stoick could've reached. By reassuring Hiccup that he is skillful Stoick only reinforces the notion of conditional love.

It's actually a great counterpoint to Snotlout's situation (and I glad Hiccup brought it up in the scene because it adds a beautiful layer of contrast.) Snotlout's had all the skill, still has them, so he's clearly a proof that being skillful alone isn't enough to keep conditional love. Hiccup also noticed their mirrored situations, and now he's practically in what was Snotlout's position, so not only does Stoick's reaction to the conversation between them doesn't help matters so does his reaction to Snotlout's situation.

Anyways, well done on managing to capture the complexity of such issues and how they tend to linger. I'll stop rambling on this 5-years-old story now XD.
Guest chapter 1 . 4/8
This is without a doubt the very best story in the HTTYD universe I have ever read, and that includes the TV series. Which is a considerable feat as there is not many places I won't travel to in search of an in character Hiccup.
You have addressed everything so realistically and dove to the heart of the issues that I knew would never be addressed in the series or in the movies but always wished they did. Everything felt wonderfully in character for everyone, the issues weren't shoved aside, but weren't dealt with in only half a chapter before all was forgiven. It felt completely natural as though I was seeing a glimspe of life before the second movie.
I have reread this story multiple times, coming back to it often when I am need of a pick me up and I thank you for taking the time to let your wonderful creation bloom into the world.
It has been a long time since this has finished so I am not sure if you will see this but just know I wish you all the happiness in the world.
Guest chapter 14 . 3/10
I'm in tears, the good kind. I will print this fic out, bind it, and cherish it forever.
Guest chapter 14 . 2/21
This was so satisfying to read and almost brought me to tears many times
It always was bothering me how little a life of being mistreated effected Hiccup, especially the part where Stoic trew Hiccup away. You really wrote this story in the best way possible. The way you made the characters think and act really made sense to me, not making Hiccup hate the village for what they did to him but he still can't forget. I can really related to what is going through Hiccup, his thoughts and his actions. Had to stop reading at one point to stop me from crying lol
What an amazing story!
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