Chapter 1 - Sanity
Summary: I wondered how a wolf could look so innocent in sheep's clothing...
A/N: To any of my new readers, you don't actually have to read To Be Loved the Way You Love Me to understand the things that go on in this story, mostly. You really only need to know that Hiccup comes from Outcast Island to understand. Oh, and that he crashed on Berk. Oh and that he began-
You know what, maybe you should read the fic first before reading this xD I warn you, though, it's 47 chapters long.
Yeah. So. Here's my first chapter. I really only did this because I've been wanting to do one-shots on all the Hiccup/Stoick moments that I couldn't fit in To Be Loved the Way You Loved Me or Starlight, Star Bright. There was originally more stuff for them in Starlight Star Bright, but a lot of other crap got in the way. I think it was the plot. xD
Also, I've been really wondering lately what Stoick must've been thinking for the duration of chapter 30. I mean, this boy looked like a male version of his wife. This boy looked so much like her it hurt. And furthermore, Stoick genuinely cared about Hiccup very deeply for a while there in To Be Loved the Way You Love Me, and you can't expect him to just forget all about that in two seconds, after learning Hiccup is an Outcast.
I knew something was wrong from the moment the Murderous left our shores. My gaze rested on Hiccup, who seemed unable to look at anyone; his hands were clasped in front of him, and he stared resolutely at the ground.
"What's going on?" I tried to sound bright and cheery in the hopes that it would bring a smile to someone's face, but no such luck; everybody stared stonily back at me, unwilling to answer.
A little bit of panic came then as I ran through the possibilities in my head. 'For Thor's sake,' I thought to myself, 'this island only has a couple hundred people. How much could have happened while I was gone?'
"Hiccup?" I turned to him for his explanation, hoping he would do or say something to diffuse the tension.
He didn't look at me; he hunched slightly, like he thought it very likely that I would lean over and strike him at any moment, but he gave no other indication that he had heard me or even that I had spoken at all.
"What's going on?" I tried to control the rising panic in my tone; why wasn't anybody speaking?
"WHAT'S GOING ON IS THAT THIS BOY IS AN OUTCAST!" yelled Mildew. He was pointing his staff directly at Hiccup, having pushed and shoved to get to the front of the crowd, I supposed.
I stared at him for a second, waiting for him to laugh. Waiting for somebody to laugh and tell me this was all a big joke.
Everybody stared quietly, expressionlessly at me, waiting for my final word. I scowled over at Mildew, reminding myself that the old man was always trying to stir stuff up and that there was no reason to believe him. "That's not funny, Mildew," I snapped.
"Good," he replied. "Because it's no joke, Stoick."
"Hiccup?" I turned to the red-haired boy on my other side, determined not to believe a word Mildew said until Hiccup proved or disproved it.
There was a short silence in which I held my breath.
"I'm sorry," Hiccup whispered brokenly, still studying the grass as if it held all the answers. "I meant to tell you before..."
He was joking. He had to be. I knew that the boy was many things, but there was no way he could be...just no way...
He stared at the ground. I stared at him. The village looked at me.
"I...I meant to tell you," he whispered in a quivering voice, one I was sure he was using to hide tears. "I just...I just never got around to it-"
"Oh, yeah?" I couldn't bear to hear his chatter anymore. Every word he said was like a knife, cutting me all over. His words were sharpened knives. How could I have ever believed him? He had made a fool out of me. He couldn't be an Outcast...but he was.
I drew in a rattling breath, trying to think straight. "When did you plan to tell us, Hiccup? A month? Two? When were you going to be done taking advantage of us?"
Hiccup shuddered again, doing the odd, tensing jerk of the shoulders, like he expected a blow on the back of the head. "I...I wasn't taking advantage," he mumbled. "I swear, I wasn't. I...I was only..."
"Only what?" I whispered when he didn't finish.
"I'm sorry, Dad," he quivered.
My heart tore the second I heard the simple word; I was a Viking and a word should not have so much power over me.
How could he have done this to me, to any of us? Was he really that kind of person, the kind to take advantage of other people's kindness? Or was he being honest? Had he honestly intended to tell me he was an Outcast? How exactly do you explain that?
Dad. Dad. Dad. Dad. The word echoed in my brain, refusing to be silenced. How dare this boy call me dad. How dare he act like I am his father. How dare he act like I am a father figure to him.
Clearly, I'm nothing to him.
"Don't." My voice was trembling when I first managed to spit out the word, but I hastily tried to correct it. "Don't you ever call me that again. I am not your father...and you..."
He met my eyes for just a second, before quickly dropping his gaze back to the ground, hands clenched into fists.
"You're not my son."
He gasped slightly, like the words had physically hurt him. "I..."
"Shut up," I snarled at him. I should've felt pleasure at his fearful, obedient nod but all I felt was disgusted - with him and with myself. How could we have gone from talking and laughing together, to me tucking him in for the love of Odin, to...this?
"Get the hell off my island, Hiccup. You are no longer welcome here. Berk is no longer your refuge."
He gave a shaky nod, turning in the direction of the forge.
"Wait a second, Stoick," Mildew butted in. "I thought we sent Outcasts off the island."
"Are you deaf?" I snapped harshly at him, feeling rage pulsating through my veins. It felt extraordinarily good to be able to use it on somebody else, because it hurt too much to think of Hiccup long enough to get angry with him. "I am sending him off the island!"
"I thought we did it...differently," Mildew argued, a sinister emphasis on 'differently'.
I closed my eyes against his harsh words. I couldn't think. I couldn't do this. For all the times my father had prepared me for trying situations, he had never prepared me for this.
The crowd whispered among themselves for several long moments.
"Yes, do it, Stoick!" Called a man from the crowd.
The other Vikings roared their approval.
"Fine!" I snapped at them. "Hold him down!"
The boy gave a scream then, a scream of a shattered and broken heart losing the only thing he really had left to care about; the sound of pure terror.
I tried to block it out as I unsheathed my sword, hearing myself scream at me that this was beyond inhuman. But I had been pushed too far beyond inhuman in the last five seconds to care. I stood over Hiccup, looking down at him, different thoughts flying through my head. I wondered what his last thought would be.
My grip on my sword was slippery with sweat. I stared at him, wondering how a wolf could look so innocent in sheep's clothing.
'How could you?' I asked him silently. 'Tell me, how could you?!'
I raised the sword, determined to do it...drawing ever closer...he was right underneath me, now...all I had to do was plunge the sword in his chest and…
My mind shut down, refusing to let me imagine the boy's blood on my hands.
Hoark leaned over and shakily rolled up Hiccup's sleeve. Pale skin broken by rough and jagged scars stared back at me. My sword was shaking in my hand. I knelt down next to him, not sure if I would ever be able to forgive myself for what I was doing.
I plunged the very tip of the sword into his skin. I heard him give a gasp, but I ignored it. I couldn't think about him. I couldn't think at all.
I went slowly, letter by letter, wondering if I'd ever be able to think again after doing this.
Would I one day close my eyes and see his laughing face behind my lids?
Or would I remember him this way forever, frozen in fear and horror?
Horror for me.
Fear of me.
He was afraid of me.
I never wanted him to be afraid of me.
I slowly pulled the sword away from his arm. He lifted his head shakily, trying to get a glimpse, but Spitelout shoved his head roughly back down onto the grass. A part of me was ready to snap at my brother not to hurt him, but I kept silent.
I approached him slowly, raising my sword, determined not to meet his eye. If I did, would I see fear there? Would there be contempt?
"Please." He whispered shakily.
You Outcasts are all the same, I thought angrily at him. Always thinking begging can get you out of it.' Well, it couldn't. Not this time. This was beyond dirty, the trick he had pulled on us, the trick he had been pulling on us since midsummer.
"You really think begging is going to get you anywhere?" I demanded coldly of him.
"Look after him," he pleaded. "Look after Toothless. You know him, he trusts you...you know he's not bad, Stoick." His small voice trembled on my name and suddenly I felt as inhuman as the voice in my head screamed at me that I was.
How could I hurt a child? And not just any child...but one who looked so much like Val...
My sword dangled dangerously near the ground. His selflessness hit me hard. He was even like Val in that sense, in the bright bravery and selflessness she had always had. How could I hurt a child who was spending his last few minutes begging for someone else?
"You're begging me to protect him," I whispered, almost unable to comprehend it. "I...you..."
His green eyes turned suddenly hopeful and I felt furious with myself. I would lock the Night Fury in the deepest dungeon and let him rot without a rider, for all I cared. Hell, I could've killed that thing with my bare hands.
My anger burned fiercely. This boy had won my pity, my affection and my love far too many times. He did not deserve it anymore. "An inch away from death," I spat, "and all you can think of is-"
"Toothless." He interrupted. "Please."
Didn't he know how hard he was making this for me? I couldn't do this. I couldn't do this. Didn't he know that it was taking every ounce of my self-control to stand here with my sword?
I wanted to do that - yet I knew I couldn't.
I had to be strong.
I clenched my jaw and raised my shaking sword, determined to kill him, to watch him bleed out.
And then he flinched. I'm sure he wasn't aware he did it, but he did. Hr flinched, ducking his head, the last of his strength leaving him.
And the last of my resolve left me. I couldn't do it. My sword slipped from my hand just as I heard a great roar from somewhere nearby. I looked around, unsure what it had been, before spotting Toothless rushing from the forge, green eyes alight with panic.
He charged over to Hiccup, shooting flames at his attackers, grabbing Hiccup with his teeth and tossing him up on his back and riding away with him, as far and fast as he could.
I should've been angry. But I looked at the sky, all lit up with stars, and I could not be anything but grateful to Thor, for saving the boy and for saving my last shred of humanity, my last shred of sanity.