A/N: Whoops my hand slipped again lol. Another oneshot from Toothless' perspective.
Toothless' head snapped up from the floor, and in his groggy state, he forgot where he was. For a moment, he felt like he was still in his dream. And then when he realized he was awake, and at a very ungodly hour in the morning at that, he wished he was still in his dream.
He stared at the wall vacantly, seeing nothing but the fading images dancing teasingly in front of his eyes. His dream had been so vivid, seemed so real, and like nothing his subconscious had churned up before. And it had been so happy. Hiccup had been in it…
Toothless laid he head back down on his front paws with a groan. It had been seven days since his boy's death, but he had seen him so clearly just a moment ago. His laughing face was there, all white teeth and shining eyes, still ringing in the dragon's ears. He still felt his kind hands smoothing over his scales, and his scent clouding his senses. The dream had been born from a desire Toothless harbored, a wish to spend one last day with his boy knowing it would be his last day. It showed him everything he wanted to do with Hiccup; have one more belly rub, explore one more unknown place, take one more flight…
He rubbed at his nose with a forepaw, Hiccup's remembered scent still strong in his nose. In the newborn light of the day, Toothless stood up from his pallet in the loft, knowing he wouldn't get anymore sleep tonight. He made his way over to the bed against the wall, nails clicking quietly against the wooden floor. He stopped once he made it to the side of the bed.
In his mind's eye, Toothless could even see his boy now, a lump curled up in his cozy nest of blankets with only his hair visible. The echoes of his soft snores and sleepy groans reverberated in the unnatural silence of the room, or at least they would until Toothless licked him awake so that they could go flying.
And then the mirage was gone. Toothless sighed and nosed the pillow, whining sadly when he picked up Hiccup's scent. It was fading already, he noted with horror. He pushed his head underneath the blankets, nose twitching. Hiccup's smell was here too, and for a moment, Toothless closed his eyes and took deep breaths, disappearing in the comfort of the dark where anything was possible.
Toothless couldn't shake the feeling that his dream had meant something, something important. Maybe even something impossible. The clarity with which he had seen Hiccup and relived all the most wonderful moments of their time together…it sparked something within him that he knew shouldn't be there. He had kept inside him this…hope, that Hiccup's death was just a bad dream, that it didn't really happen. That now that the battle was over and everything was safe, his best friend would stroll into Berk, happy, whole, and safe. And then he would bowl Hiccup over, covering him in sloppy kisses, to which Hiccup would reply excitedly, "I'm home bud! Sorry I took so long, I know I had you worried sick, but I'm back for good this time."
Perhaps Toothless just had to look for him in the right places. Perhaps…today…if he looked hard enough, he wouldn't be disappointed again.
Keeping Hiccup's scent in his nose, the black dragon slid out the open window and into the still sleeping town, his head raised in the air. He sniffed for several long minutes, trying to pick out Hiccup in the morning smells.
Toothless jolted, and sniffed harder. Yes, there it was, it was unmistakable! He smelled his boy! He knew it, he knew it! He took off full throttle, following his nose and his heart soaring with excitement, and didn't stop until he was in front of the forge. He decided it made sense. Hiccup spent a lot of his time here among the roaring fires and calamity of noise, shaping things, some of them for Toothless. The forge was silent now, though, and Toothless slipped inside. He snuffled and pushed things aside gently until he had reached the back and came face to face with an apron hanging on a rack. Tilting his head, he sniffed the apron closely, and realized this was where Hiccup's smell was coming from.
Several images of his rider wearing this very apron, pounding away at still hot weapons, keeping the fire going, and tinkering with other little things presented themselves to the dragon. One time he had taken one of Toothless' loose scales and worked it into a silver filigree necklace for Astrid, and a few others for some little girls who thought the necklace was pretty. Hiccup had looked so proud of himself, and those little girls looked so awestruck when he tied those scales around their necks. Astrid had been glowing with joy and pride, and had kissed Hiccup affectionately after they had left, mentioning something about how adorable he was with kids. Toothless hadn't noticed his rider's embarrassment, opting to enjoy the fish the girls had left him instead.
Warbling softly, he nudged the apron gently with his nose. It looked so empty and lonely without the body that usually accompanied it. Toothless knew how it felt.
But he couldn't give up, not yet. Rubbing his face against the apron in farewell, he pattered back outside and sniffed the air again. When he picked up the scent coming from a different direction, Toothless went after it, more determined than ever.
It led him to the dragon stables, and he snuck in as quietly as he could. Most of the dragons were asleep, except for a few hyper hatchlings who he heard play fighting somewhere above him. His nose led him to Stormfly's stall, more specifically to the saddle that was draped over the stall door. He touched his nose to it, smelling Stormfly and Astrid on it most prominently, but underneath all that was Hiccup's scent.
Ah, yes. Hiccup had made a repair to it not too long ago. Toothless remembered him working with his needle and thread on a tear in the underside. Astrid had tried to convince him that it didn't matter because no one would see it, but Hiccup insisted, saying he would know it was there and she and Stormfly deserved to look gorgeous all the time. He had even oiled the saddle up until it was nice and shiny after he was finished.
Stormfly's head suddenly appeared over the stall door, and she trilled in surprised recognition when she saw Toothless. Toothless lowered his head and averted his eyes, body deflating. Hiccup wasn't here either.
His friend tilted her head in confusion, and then her eyes softened when she realized why Toothless had been sniffing her saddle. She still smelled Hiccup on it too. She craned her head over the door to give the black dragon a soft nudge with her beak, crooning quietly. Toothless crooned back, appreciating her concern and giving her a quick lick. Just the other day, Stormfly had seen how utterly devastated he still was, and, in an effort to make him feel better, kindly offered to share her rider with him.
"You like Astrid," she had said, "And she likes you. And she's Hiccup's mate, so"-
"Was," Toothless had interrupted softly.
Stormfly had looked very awkward then. "Okay, well…I'd like to think I know you better than most, and I can't think of anyone else you'd let on your back."
She had been right, of course. But Toothless wasn't ready to let anyone else on his back yet, just as he was sure Astrid wasn't ready to ride him and…take Hiccup's place, in a sense.
So, he bid Stormfly farewell and left the stables, the hope sucked out of his heart with painful ferocity. As soon as he was back out on the grass, Toothless flopped down with a frustrated, sorrowful moan, pawing at his face. The sun was higher in the sky now, and he could hear the early risers milling about. But he didn't care, none of them mattered. The only person that mattered wasn't here, his beautiful, loving face always cruelly dangled in front of him in his dreams and disappearing when he woke. It made Toothless wish he could remain asleep forever so that he could just stay with his best friend.
Toothless moaned low and loud, his shoulders shuddering. It wasn't supposed to happen this way! They were supposed to die together! But then Hiccup had to go someplace Toothless couldn't follow him, and it wasn't fair! It just…it hurt so bad…to be alone, to have half of you ripped away while the other half was left to rot and linger against its will.
He just wanted his boy.
But no matter how hard he wished or begged, Hiccup never came back. Sometimes Toothless would wake up but hesitate in opening his eyes, instead sending a prayer to whoever would listen. Please, he would plead, Please, today let me open my eyes and see Hiccup lying in bed. Let this all be a bad dream.
Last night, Hiccup had kissed his forehead and murmured just before Toothless woke, "Thanks for everything, bud. I love you, and I'll see you in Valhalla." And he had held Toothless until the dream faded.
Toothless sat up and looked up at the sky, as if he could find Hiccup among the clouds if he looked hard enough. But that wouldn't happen. It couldn't happen. He was so stupid.
And then it hit him.
It was Hiccup's scent, but it wasn't coming from the dragon stables, or the chief's house. It was coming from a new direction.
Toothless began to shake, daring to hope once more. He couldn't help it, bound as he was by love, loyalty and grief. He had to try. He whimpered, already running forward before he could stop himself, following the scent with everything he had.
Hiccup, I'm coming! Just hold on, I'll find you. Please be there…
He was a bit surprised to find himself in front of the Hofferson house, but at the same time he wasn't. Hiccup often came home smelling like this house, and more specifically his mate. Toothless drew in a sharp breath. Astrid! Had she had found Hiccup?
His scent was coming from her room.
Toothless leapt up towards her window, losing his balance at first and scrabbling with his hind legs for purchase. When he found it, he hauled himself through, barking happily and looking around rapidly. When his eyes adjusted, he immediately noticed that no one was here, not even the girl that this room belonged to. Toothless tilted his head in confusion.
He then set to sniffing around, trusting his nose when his eyes failed to produce the person whom he longed to see. He checked everywhere, under things, behind things, shifting things around and accidently knocking some things over. He didn't stop until he found where the smell was coming from.
Hanging over the back of a chair was a green tunic Toothless recognized all too well.
In a daze, he approached the garment, before burying his nose against it desperately and letting loose a rasping cry. Oh, it was so soft, so warm and familiar that he couldn't stand it. It was another remnant of his boy that lay there, empty and sad like him. It was probably at that moment Toothless felt his heart well and truly break, bereft of the hope that had kept it together at last.
The dragon swung around to see Astrid standing in the doorway, looking confused. Toothless had no idea what to do next, paralyzed by despair as he was. She entered the room with the intention of getting closer to him, but before she could get much further, Toothless was burying his nose in her stomach, taking deep, searching breaths. It was a weak, last shred of hope, but since he often smelled Astrid on Hiccup, he figured the opposite could be true as well. But no, the girl carried no trace of Hiccup. She smelled different than normal, but at the moment Toothless didn't care about what that could mean.
"Hey, what's the matter?" she asked gently, resting her hands on his head. She looked around the room, noticing at last all the things Toothless had rearranged. "What are you looking for?"
He let out a long, high-pitched, desperate whine, and pulled away from her. He slunk over to the chair and carefully pulled Hiccup's shirt off the back of it, before turning back to her and pressing it into her hands, looking up at her with huge, pitiful eyes. Astrid took it with stiff fingers, looking down at it as if she wasn't sure if it was something out of a dream. Toothless kept whining, beginning to shake once more. He nosed at the shirt frantically, before he began to cover it in tiny licks, wishing beyond everything possible his tongue would meet warm skin instead of fabric.
Astrid sunk slowly to her knees, still clutching the shirt in a white-knuckled grip. "I stole this from him," she explained, "I just wanted something of his that I could wear that smelled like him. He…heh, when he saw me wearing it for the first time, he said, 'Well, that looks familiar. Now you're raiding my closet? Eh, it looks better on you anyway.'"
Her shoulders shook, and when she continued, her voice was thick with unshed tears. "When he died, I asked his parents if they wanted the shirt back. And do you know what his dad said? 'Did he ever ask for it back? No? Then it's yours. He gave it to you.'"
Tears shone on her cheeks and dripped onto her lap. Toothless lay down and set his head in her lap.
"I couldn't sleep last night because I missed him so much that it hurt. So I…I dug out his shirt and put it on. It was like being held by him because it was warm and gentle and…Toothless, I want him to come home! That idiot, can't he see how miserable he's made everyone? I'd give the gods anything they wanted if I could just see him one more time…just one more time…"
Toothless reached up and licked her cheek, whimpering with sympathy. But, as miserable with grief as he was, he felt just a tiny bit better knowing there was someone else who felt as miserable as he did. Astrid sobbed and threw her arms around Toothless' head, the shirt still in her lap and pressed against his nose.
It had finally sunk in that Hiccup was never coming back for the both of them, and that was enough of a reason to cry as hard as they wished, as if hoping to fill the gaping, aching hole in their hearts the boy had torn out when he died with tears.
And somewhere far away in a realm they couldn't fathom, Toothless was unaware that Hiccup often shared his dreams. And right now, his boy saw them crying and twitched in his sleep. He stretched out a hand, as if trying to reach them and stop their tears, even as his own beaded up on his tightly closed eyelashes.