New chappie for the week! Thank you to the readers and supporters of this story; every comment I hear about it is treasured and I am honoured to share this with you. They are never ignored. :)
Chapter Eleven: The Bond
"No, no no no!" Astrid growled, straightening Hiccup in her saddle, trying her hardest to stay on Stormfly. The Deadly Nadder shot through the air. Her wing was cramping from the weight of Hiccup's weak body. He lurched again, more blood coating his hands over Stormfly's back. Astrid smacked his back to help him cough it up, but even touching him like that burnt her hand. She could hear the hissing of her flesh burning, and she cursed as they flew into the village.
Stormfly landed messily, throwing Astrid forward into Hiccup's bare back. She gasped as the heat burnt her cheek and she pulled away to get him off the dragon.
"Gods, oh gods," a gentle voice gasped from a dark alley. Astrid's head snapped over, desperate and sweaty.
"Help!" she screamed, knowing someone would be near. "Somebody help!"
The figure raced up to Astrid, who was trying to keep Hiccup on his feet, his arm making her shoulders blister. She gritted her teeth and sobbed against the pain. Another pair of hands reached forward and grabbed his other arm.
"We need to get him inside," Rose instructed, her brown hair spilling over her green eyes, her nightgown little protection against the cold of night and heat of Hiccup's skin. "Give him to me."
"He's too warm!" Astrid cried.
"Not for me, he isn't."
With surprising strength, Rose hoisted Hiccup's limp arm over her head and rested it over her shoulders, lifting the weight from Astrid, who had raw shoulders and blisters. Rose, tiny and gentle Rose, carried him into Hiccup and Astrid's home. She dragged him without aid – he made Rose's nightgown smoulder and singe – and rested him in a tub of cold water, already drawn and apparently ready for this purpose.
"We can't wake anyone," Rose grunted as she cut the belt of Hiccup's pants completely free with a perring knife. Astrid knotted her fingers into her hair, tears flowing maniacally.
"What is going on?" she choked.
"Help me get his pants off," Rose interrupted. Astrid hissed and paced around the room.
"What do we do? What do we do?!" Astrid repeated over and over.
Rose pursed her lips and squeezed her eyes shut. "Hiccup is burning faster than we can keep him cool. If you don't let me help him, Hiccup is going to die. Help me. Please, Astrid."
Astrid took a moment and nodded, dropping to her knees to help Rose with Hiccup. She pulled Hiccup's pants off, and seeing him naked didn't register with her at that moment. She only stared for a second too long; she never thought the first time seeing him would be like this. She put her hands on Hiccup's face, his fever scarring her palms, as Rose turned to Stormfly at the dragon door.
There was an intense look between Rose and Stormfly. Stormfly chortled and disappeared. Astrid looked back at Rose.
"What was that?"
"Your dragon needs to find ice. A lot of it."
"You didn't say anything!"
"ASTRID," Rose barked. "We don't have time for this!"
Astrid backed away as Rose turned Hiccup's head, revealing the blistered and infected wound on his neck.
"It settled quickly," Rose muttered. She cried out, a shriek of sorts, and Toothless slammed down the stairs. Astrid leapt out of her skin; no one could call Toothless but Hiccup, and yet here he was, tongue lolling and eyes in slits.
Hiccup's eyes snapped open and he choked on another wave of bloody vomit. It sprayed over Rose, who kept her eyes shut and her lips pressed tight. Astrid fell onto her back but Rose wiped the blood from her eyes. A huge clump of ice fell from the dragon door and Astrid ran to grab it. She threw it into the water to cool it down and Hiccup's eyes fluttered.
"It's happening," Rose spat. "Toothless –"
Desperate and full of bizarre panic, Astrid grabbed Rose by the hair and threw her into Hiccup's writing desk. The air left her lungs as the table careened into her gut, and she fell to the floor coughing. Astrid's eyes were burning with hatred.
"I don't know who you are," Astrid spat, "but you better start explaining things to me right now."
"Astrid, we don't have time!" Rose coughed.
"Then BE QUICK!" Astrid screamed.
Rose cursed and threw herself at Astrid, grabbing the knife with surprising agility and strength. She bent Astrid's wrist back, biting her arm until she let go. Astrid fell back and Rose snarled in her face.
"I come from a small island where terror creeps in the dark. The women are raped every night and the men are beaten with weapons you cannot even imagine. I have seen flesh torn off of children and my own mother forced to feed dragons to other dragons. And you know what I do? I keep more people safe with my knowledge, the discoveries I have made to keep people alive."
Astrid stared up at Rose, terrified at her hateful talk. "I have connections to Hiccup that I am in no position to speak about. If I do, my mother will be torn apart slowly by Whispering Deaths, turned inside out before my very eyes. Hiccup cannot be ignored and I know how to save him. So either you let me to save both Hiccup and my mother, or we can keep fighting and you can watch him die on your wedding night."
A small nod was the only reply Rose got. It was all she needed as she motioned to Toothless. She grabbed Hiccup's limp hand in hers and lifted it.
"Almost seven years ago, you faced the Red Death. When Hiccup fell from the sky. Makes you wonder, how did Toothless catch Hiccup as he fell? The story has been different everywhere, but it only makes sense in one way: Toothless willingly grabbed him with his teeth. He tried first with his gums, but Hiccup would have slipped, making Toothless' teeth cut into the skin and breaking his bone. He flipped Hiccup up and grabbed him, protecting him as they hit the ground, but breaking his leg clean off."
Rose ran her fingers over the wound on his neck, rubbing the clotted blood free to clean the gash. Astrid looked down at her, her heart racing as Hiccup began to pale.
"When he bit Hiccup willingly, willful venom entered Hiccup's blood stream along with blood from Toothless' gums. Willful venom has never been heard with any other dragon, but Toothless… saved Hiccup and created an unbreakable bond that dragons would talk about for years afterwards. A bond that extends the ties of friendship. The venom had a different effect than it would have if he had meant to poison. Instead, he meant to save him."
"How do you know that? How does this make sense?" Astrid growled.
Rose bent her head to the side, a horrendous scar wrapping over her shoulder and down her back. "A dragon heard about it and decided to… experiment with me. I was at the end of my life and I had my own companion that tried to revive me like Hiccup had been. Only I walked away with much, much more. It's a key to something much more powerful."
Toothless opened his mouth, showing a small scar over his tongue.
"I went to Toothless, knowing that I had one chance to try, and Toothless offered his venom and blood, which I myself put into Hiccup's system. It is rough, but if we do this right, Hiccup will be so much more than a dragon rider. And to be honest, he's going to need that if the tides turn like I think they will."
"How do you know all this about Toothless?!" Astrid said, exacerbated. "Where are you getting this from?!"
Rose smiled, Hiccup's hand in hers. "…Because, Astrid, I can talk to dragons."
Rose motioned to Toothless, who reared back and filled his mouth with flame. Astrid rolled and scream, reaching out to stop the Night Fury before he spewed the flames over Hiccup's body. The last thing Astrid saw was Hiccup lying aflame in the bathtub, his flesh sizzling in the heat, her body weak and faint. Then she felt the ground beneath her cheek, followed by darkness.
He was falling through the air again. The gigantic tail of the Red Death swooped down as the dragon collapsed on itself. He pulled on the rein, but it was no good. Toothless' tail was gone and the Red Death crashed into him. But he did not faint. He was wide awake, watching his own body fall down into the cloud of fire. He reached forward, and felt the teeth crunch into his lower leg. It snapped as Toothless wrenched him up, flipping him into a pair of scaly arms. The pain was immense, his leg was bleeding, but the fire around them burnt the stump closed. Hiccup screamed and Toothless crashed into the ground, sending Hiccup into darkness.
The heat was all around him, the fire burning his body. His neck hurt, his body trembled. He wanted to die. He wanted to fly. He wanted to jump into a fire. He wanted to never wake.
"Looove!" The hiss screamed through his soul and he cried out.
Suddenly it was quiet. Astrid forced herself to sit up, but hours had passed after what felt like minutes. Her shoulders had been bandaged and slathered in ointment, along with her hands. Her hair was braided for sleep, which apparently happened. She was in her new bed. She whirled around and found Hiccup sleeping. His neck had no blemish upon it and he was curled up next to her, snoring soundly. She gasped and almost shook him awake, but something made her stop. She merely reached over, running a finger over his cheek to see if he was real. He was. She glared and slipped out of bed, grabbing her cloak to find Rose and get a better explanation.
Hiccup peeled his eyes open, rubbing his head. The words crashed into his head again, making his head throb.
He forced himself to sit up, feeling different and strong, not remembering the events of last night. They went to the cave and then nothing.
Hiccup groaned under his breath, shaking his head and too groggy to make out anything logical.
"WAAKE!" the voice screamed Hiccup jumped.
"Gah! I'm awake, I'm awake!"
He looked around the room, but there was no one there. His bed was empty – where was Astrid? – and he caught the gaze of Toothless, who sat at the foot of his bed looking terribly anxious.
"Saaafe." the voice rumbled. Hiccup's eyes widened.
"Heelllooo." Toothless forced his mouth into a smile. "Hello."
Hiccup scrambled back and hit the headboard as Toothless cooed and cocked his head to the side.
Hiccup swallowed. "…Uh, hi bud."
Toothless jumped up and perked his ears into the air. "Bond."
Hiccup's head was filled with fiery memories of his neck cut by the knife at the knife-throwing competition, being so warm, being sick all day at his wedding.
Hiccup raised an eyebrow. "You can talk to me…"
"Hi, yes, hello."
Hiccup couldn't help but smile. "I guess you're pretty excited about this, hey?"
He smiled again and Hiccup laughed. "I guess… I could get used to it. But how?"
"Rooose. Rose. Kin. She speak. We speak. You speak. Kin."
"Rose?" Hiccup rubbed his forehead and shoved his blankets off. He squeaked. "Where are my pants?"
Astrid flew Stormfly to the docks and leapt off, looking back and forth for Rose. Many of the clans had left already. She marched over to Gobber who was helping another ship set sail.
"Where is Rose?" she asked harshly.
"Ah! Good morning, Astrid? Have a good night?" he asked playfully.
Astrid frowned. "Long story. Where is she?"
"She sailed off with trader Johann early this morning. Looked to be in a bit of a state. But she's gone home."
Astrid clenched her hands into fists and huffed. Stoick noticed her bandaged hands and motioned to them.
"Had a bit of an accident?" he asked.
"Just a weird night. I'll see you later, Gobber. I'm heading home."
Astrid flew back to her house and entered the house, quick to rush up the stairs to see if Hiccup had woken. What she found was Hiccup trying to pull on his pants, being quite unsuccessful as Toothless bounced around the room, shaking the floor, and that combined with Astrid gawking at him while he tried to cover his nudity, Hiccup fell on his face.
"Good morning!" he stammered. "I'm sorry, Toothless, grab me a –"
Toothless dropped a blanket over Hiccup.
Astrid stared and Hiccup looked up at her, struggling to his feet. She crossed the room slowly and his smiled faded.
"Are you alright?" he asked. "Your shoulders, your hands… what happened?"
Astrid's lip quivered. She raised a hand and slapped Hiccup across the face.
"Don't you ever scare me like that Hiccup!" she shrieked. Hiccup held his cheek and stared, bewildered. "You almost died, I watched you AGAIN!"
"What?" Hiccup gasped. "I feel fine."
"You were dying!" Astrid screamed. "That bitch, that girl that was always getting close to you, she poisoned you!"
"Wait, what? Rose? How?"
"That knife-throwing thing! That little cut on your neck turned into a festering monster!"
Hiccup swallowed. Astrid paced about the room.
"And when you passed out – after puking blood – I dragged you home and guess who was waiting for me! HER! And she forced you into our tub while you kept puking and groaning and DYING, saying shit like she knew how to talk to dragons, that she talked to Toothless about your leg and how that created some sort of infection that would last seven years – THE POINT IS YOU WERE DYING!"
Hiccup stared at her as she rubbed her eyes, trying to get a deep breath. She sucked in a lungful of air.
Hiccup licked his lips and looked at Toothless. He grimaced and asked quietly, "She said she could talk to dragons?"
"IS THAT THE ONLY IMPORTANT PIECE OF INFORMATION YOU GOT FROM THIS?!" Astrid shrieked. Hiccup staggered back.
"I can hear Toothless!" he blurted. Astrid froze and Toothless nodded at Astrid. She looked between the two of them and scoffed.
"You're lying, that's impossible."
"No, Astrid, listen to me, it doesn't make any sense, but I remember falling and losing my leg because Toothless does. We can talk and sometimes he can tell what I'm thinking!"
Astrid scoffed again and she looked terribly angry. She shook her head and closed her eyes. Toothless took his leave and leapt out of the dragon door, leaving Astrid staring at Hiccup. She waited until she was sure Toothless was gone before closing her eyes.
"None of this makes sense… you were burning so hot that you burnt my hands, my shoulders, and I had to watch you, my husband, go through wave after wave of pain… and yet you have nothing wrong with you. No cuts, no blisters. And now you can talk to Toothless."
Astrid wavered and sagged to the ground. Hiccup jumped and raced across the room, grabbing her and steadying her. He lifted her into his arms, making sure his blanket didn't fall off, and he carried her to the bed, kissing her forehead. "I'm sorry I scared you, Astrid," he whispered. He rested her on the bed and crawled next to her. He put the blanket over them.
"You're still warm," she muttered.
"Not worrisomely," he added with a grin.
"You're also naked."
Hiccup backed away awkwardly. "Yeah, about that… I woke up without my pants and while I know last night was a bit of a mess, did we…?"
Astrid smiled softly. "No."
She pressed her body against his and breathed in his scent.
"I love you," she whispered. "But don't do that ever again, or I will kill you."
Hiccup chuckled and nodded, kissing her forehead and rocking her back and forth, whispers of Toothless echoing in his head.
After hours of snoozing and cuddling, Hiccup woke up to the tickle of lips on his neck. He purred as Astrid pushed him onto his back and kissed his neck. She lifted her head, her cheeks red.
"Are you sure you're alright?" she asked.
Astrid smiled and kissed his neck again, but with force, making his neck tense up and his throat seize. He gasped and ran his hands up her body as she kissed his neck and led her own way to his mouth, kissing him heatedly. He groaned through his teeth when she bit his lip. She pulled away suddenly and shook her head.
"I'm sorry. You've had a long night and I shouldn't –"
Hiccup grabbed the back of her neck, tangling his hand in her braid, and crushed her mouth with his, his body on fire with pent-up passion. She moaned into his mouth as their lips parted and met again, tongue exploring each other. Hiccup flipped them, careful to keep her bandages clear of pressure, and dragged his tongue down her smooth neck to her collarbone. She wriggled about, parting her legs so he could lie between them.
He lifted her shirt and kissed his way up her belly, tugging at the laces expertly with his fingers and freeing her from her clothing. She wiggled out of it and Hiccup grabbed the bindings around her breasts. He pulled them free and kissed her breast, making her gasp and purr and giggle. He laughed gently against her skin as he ran his hands over them softly, up to her cheeks where he kissed her again.
With a deep breath, she reached between them and slowly ran her hand down his stomach, over the bandages from the Skrill attack. She felt it tighten and she paused, but when he didn't stop kissing her, she reached the final distance and touched it. He arched his back and shuddered. She stared at his face as it contorted into a face of pleasure. She loved it and gently moved her hand, making him shudder over her over and over again. She grew warm inside and kissed him again. She was amazed by how it felt in her hand – she hadn't really gotten a good look at it, but she didn't think it would be like this – and she yearned for more.
Hiccup gasped again and reached down, pulling her trousers over her hips. He had to lean to the side so she could kick them off, but when they were finally off, keeping their eyes shut tight and their kisses deep, he reached down and rested his fingers on her.
She gasped and choked from the simple touch, but Hiccup kept kissing her, carefully and lightly moving his fingers so she would squirm and forget to move her own hand on him. She wondered if it felt different than he expected, if he felt her scars or was put off by the feel of it, but he kissed her deeply. With one of his fingers, he slipped inside and she tensed up. He buried his face in her shoulder gently.
"Are you alright?" he asked, almost silent. Astrid nodded and let herself relax. It was a small sting, but nothing surprising, and he moved slowly, gently, and she moaned into his hair. He moved at a pace that made her shiver and she squeezed her own hand to make him groan.
He pulled himself over her again and stared at her. He ran his eyes over her body, his hands by hear shoulders and her resting on her stomach, feeling lost and somehow useless.
"You're beautiful," he murmured.
"So are you," she replied shakily.
He grabbed her hand and kissed it. "We don't have to do anything you don't want to."
Astrid swallowed and caught her breath. "We wouldn't be."
Hiccup smiled against her fingers. "I can't say I wouldn't mind, either."
There was a tense silence as they looked at each other, their bodies resembling new paintings to be looked at and enjoyed. She pulled on him to rest on top of her. She felt it against her and she caught her breath. Hiccup's eyes flickered and he bit his lip.
"Are you sure?"
Astrid froze, but nodded timidly. "Just…stop if I need to."
"Anything you want, my love."
He kissed her and lifted himself so he was in the right position. Astrid reached between them to guide him.
"My wife," he whispered against her lips. The word made her smile. He put some weight against her and she moved her legs higher to ready herself.
They sucked in a breath together and held it, kissing each other and closing their eyes. With one more second of silence, Hiccup moved his hips forward slowly, and Astrid squeezed her eyes shut as the pain shot through her gut. The sting of his body filling hers made her hiss a breath through her teeth. Hiccup groaned loudly and kept himself propped up on his elbows, kissing Astrid to keep himself from making any more sound. He tried his hardest to sty still so Astrid could get used to it.
Astrid relaxed herself and moved her hips, begging for some sort of movement. Hiccup moved slowly, keeping in pace with Astrid as she got used to the pain, the groan of discomfort replaced with the gasps of pleasure. She wrapped her arms around him and felt his body, his muscles, with her hand and finding sheer joy out of feeling his shoulders tense with every soft thrust and shudder. They were the same person, they were finally complete.
They didn't dare change positions for their first venture, scared to give Astrid anymore pain than was necessary. But she gasped his name and he moved faster, pushing deeper and grinding himself into her, making her sigh and gasp. He choked on her name, the feeling of heat and Astrid's body making his stomach clench. He moved even faster, moaning and tightening everywhere. He was reaching the peak, she was reaching the peak, they were finding it hard to breathe, to slow down, their hearts racing in unison.
Astrid cried out in pained pleasure, wriggling as Hiccup gasped and pulled himself away just in time. Heat spilled over Astrid's stomach as Hiccup gritted his teeth and groaned. He shuddered violently and relaxed, breathing in as much air as he could, Astrid following suit.
They rested their sweaty foreheads against the other and both gave a bout of breathless laughter. Hiccup kissed her sloppily and looked between them.
"…Oh… Oh dear," he laughed. He reached over the bed to grab his pants and mopped up the mess. Then he pulled Astrid against him and sighed happily. Astrid giggled and nuzzled into his chest.
It hurt. She knew it would. But it was a pain that she enjoyed, a pain that told her she had made it. She had given herself to someone gentle and loving, kind and honest. She knew she loved Hiccup, and now that she knew him more than anyone else ever would, she found herself enraptured and blessed by the gods themselves. Hiccup was alive, and Hiccup was her husband, and Hiccup proved to her that the damage she did to herself didn't change anything. That made her world perfect.