J'Imagine (I Believe)
I haven't seen an AU like this one around yet. I was watching the HTTYD Olympic vignettes that DreamWorks did for the 2010 Vancouver Games, and was watching some of Jay Baruchel's interviews talking about being Canadian, so this AU was born. Tbh I was planning for this to be a nice fluffy fic with Hiccup and Astrid making midnight runs to Tims and playing hockey, etc., etc., but it did not turn out that way. So have fun with this mess of hurt/comfort and angst.
The title "J'Imagine" (not pronounced jay-imagine, but closer to jee-imagine (j-ee-ma-jeen...?)) or "I Believe" is the 2010 Vancouver Games' song. Here is the bilingual version song on youtube: youtube/ watch?v=Of57DdwdiNs
The one shots in this collection (order, titles, etc. up to change):
1: Canadiens vs Leafs: He like the Canadiens, and she likes the Leafs. Together, they can be the best team.
2: Game Face: For the first time in a little while, Stoick comes to one of Hiccup's games and Hiccup is determined to make this a good game, he can ignore that pain in his knee...
3: Power of You and I: Terry Fox Runs, midnight Tim's runs, and hockey games.
4: Broken Peace: A father protects his own son.
5: Game 7: The Maple Leafs make it to the Stanley Cup. But Hiccup doesn't.
6: Homeward Bound: Sometimes all someone needs is a chance. And in this case, a best friend too.
Never a better day to post this other than Canada's 150th birthday. So Happy Canada Day, everyone! Fun Canada fact: Around 1000CE, Vikings found present day Newfoundland. Too bad they weren't on the back of dragons.
I hope you enjoy!
1: Canadiens vs Leafs
Winter in Canada lasts most of the year. The only real comfort to Hiccup was Toothless, his father and hockey.
Hiccup lived in St. John's, Newfoundland for his whole life. He loved the East coast with its dazzling sunrises, mild winters, and beautiful summers. His favourite memories included a trip to L'Anse aux Meadows with his father and mother, and playing hockey on the rink in his backyard with his friends, Camicazi and Thuggory.
Everything was happy for the Haddock family, though it was just Hiccup and his father – his mother was serving a tour overseas – until when Hiccup's father announced that they were going to moving halfway across the country. Hiccup was obviously upset, but maybe a new start was what Hiccup needed. Together with his dad and his cat, Toothless, their family moved halfway across the country.
New city presented new opportunities. There was a hockey rink a couple of blocks from Hiccup's new house. Family skating was open from one to four. For two hours after that, the rink was open to hockey players.
On the wall, there was a list of rules:
1) Hockey is open to all ages
2) Be respectful
3) Wear team bib in visible place
4) Standard NFL rules
5) Have fun
Hiccup picked up a red bib from the bin and skated on the rink with about a dozen other players. The Zamboni had just run over the rink, making the ice smooth and clear. Excitedly, someone tossed a puck onto the ice and the game was on. Smoothly, Hiccup took the puck and skated down the rink, easily handling the puck as he skated between two defenders. As he neared the goal, he lined up a shot and—
Hiccup groaned in pain as he was slammed into the side boards by a player in a Maple Leafs jersey, a blue bib tied around their upper arm.
"Hey!" Hiccup yelled, rubbing his sore shoulder. "What was that for?"
"Stay out of the way."
Hiccup jumped in surprise as he realized the other was a girl. Of course, he thought bitterly, I could get tackled every run in football by a girl, on the hockey rink it's no different.
Shaking his head to get rid of the thoughts, he hurried after the girl towards the puck.
A little while later as public skating started again, Hiccup was untying his skates when someone sat down next to him.
"Sorry about that side-check earlier."
Looking up, Hiccup was surprised to see the girl in the Maple Leafs jersey from earlier. "Oh, no. It's okay," Hiccup said. "I'm used to it. Everyone tackles the talking fishbone."
She laughed and held out her hand. "Astrid. Astrid Hofferson."
"Hiccup Haddock," Hiccup said, shaking her hand.
"Technically, it's Harold..." Hiccup mumbled.
She grinned and stood up as Hiccup finished putting on his boots. "Want to go get hot chocolate? My treat."
"You know the hot chocolate here is complimentary," Hiccup said, accepting her hand to help him get up.
"Of course," Astrid said with a wink.
As they were walking towards the hot chocolate table, Astrid asked, "Which hockey team is your favourite?"
"Les Canadiens," Hiccup said proudly. "Are you a Leafs fan?"
"Yeah, stop laughing," Astrid said as Hiccup laughed. "I do like the Flames if that makes you stop laughing at me."
"I'm not laughing," Hiccup said.
"Yeah right," she said, giving him a punch on the shoulder. "You are totally laughing at me."
"Fine," Hiccup said, managing to wipe the smile off his face.
She rolled her eyes and shook her head. "Okay, maybe they haven't won a Stanley Cup since like forever ago, but there's always going to be hope for them. There's enough hope for everyone." As they got their hot chocolate, Astrid said, "I haven't seen you around, are you new here?"
"Yeah, I just moved from St. John's a couple of weeks ago. My Dad and I finally unpacked the last of our boxes and I found my hockey gear so this is my first time here," Hiccup explained as he handed her a cup of hot chocolate.
"Cool, which school are you going to?"
"Lester B Person Colligiate I think," Hiccup said. "I'm in the French Immersion."
"Hey, that's the same school as me, but I'm in AP," Astrid said, giving him a light punch on the arm. "Why haven't I seen you around yet?"
"My dad is letting me settle down before going to school," Hiccup explained, rubbing the spot she had shoved him. "I'm starting next week."
"Cool! Give me you number and your first day, I'll show you around," Astrid said, giving him her phone.
Hiccup felt his cheeks turning red, but he quickly typed in his number. "So we're going to see each other a lot?"
"Yeah, of course!" Astrid said. "Maybe next time, we can go get some real hot chocolate from Tim's next week."
A smile broke over Hiccup's face and he nodded eagerly. "Yes, I would like that very much."
Buzz... buzz... buzz...
Astrid groaned and rolled over as her phone rang, jarring her out of her sleep. It was a Saturday morning in mid November, nearly two months after she had met Hiccup, and she had fully intended on taking full intention of not having to get out of bed until the afternoon, but someone decided to call her. The first time, she ignored it. And the second. And the third.
By the fourth time, she reached out from the warm blankets and put her phone next to her ear. "What?" she said grumpily.
"Astrid! Why did you take so long to pick up?"
Blinking confused, Astrid pulled back the blankets, the cold air in her room waking her up. "Hiccup? Why are you calling so early in the morning?"
"Look outside! Look outside!"
Without bothering to get out of bed, she looked out the window from her place on the bed. She saw the grey sky, some soft snow flakes falling from the sky. "What is it? It's snowing, stay inside where it's warm."
"But it's snowing! And look out your window!"
"Hiccup," Astrid said with a groan. "It's just snowing. The snow is going to be here for the next five months. Go back to sleep."
"Look out your window!"
"I'm going back to sleep," Astrid announced. "Talk to you later."
Before he could finish, she hung up her phone, dropping it on the floor, and pulled the blankets over her head again. She started dozing off when she was jarred out of her sleep with a loud THUMP.
Sitting up right, she looked around, trying to figure out what it was.
She turned around just in time to see a snowball hit her window. Angrily, she stopped over to the window to see Hiccup standing on the street, packing another snowball together. When he spotted her in the window, he pulled out his phone again and soon her phone on the floor started ringing.
Astrid couldn't help but smile as she answered her phone. "Hiccup. What are you doing outside?"
"It's snowing!" Hiccup said, waving his arms at the layer of snow that had covered the city over night.
"I can see it. Have you never seen snow before?"
"Of course I have, but still, it's snowing!"
Astrid opened her mouth to protest, but Hiccup made a pouting face and Astrid sighed and said, "I'll be out in a moment."
Astrid didn't need the phone to hear Hiccup's victorious yell. After quickly changing, Astrid hurried outside to meet Hiccup.
Hiccup was waiting for her on her front law, trying to catch a snowflake, just like Toothless was doing beside him. Toothless was bouncing up and down, twisting around trying to catch the snowflakes before they joined the millions of other snowflakes covering the ground.
"Look! It's snowing!" Hiccup yelled excitedly, throwing snow up in the air. "So much snow!"
"Finally stopped complaining about the cold?" Astrid said.
"Who cares about the cold when there's snow!"
Hiccup spun around, his natural Newfoundland accent coming out in a tumble of excited words, making it near impossible for Astrid to understand what he was saying.
He stopped after an excited rant, looking towards Astrid as if he expected her to say something.
"What? I didn't catch any of that."
"I was just saying... I was saying..." Suddenly, Hiccup's voice lost its confidence and he looked away, fiddling with his mittens. "Oh nothing."
Astrid smirked and played with a handful of snow. "Are you sure it's nothing?"
Hiccup looked away and that was the opportunity that Astrid needed. She grabbed him by the back of the jacket, shoving a handful of snow down the back of his shirt. Hiccup yelped in pain, jumping around to lose the snow down his shirt. "Astrid!" he complained, shaking to get the rest out. "What was that for?"
She just laughed and clapped her hands in delight. Hiccup scowled at her, but it quickly dissolved into a mischievous smile as he picked up another handful of snow. "Oh, you're in for it."
Astrid laughed and stuck her tongue out at him. "Catch me if you can," she said as she took off across her lawn. Hiccup quickly caught up with her, bringing her down into the snow. Astrid laughed and twisted around, rolling them over and digging her fingers against his sides. Even through his winter jacket, Hiccup started laughing, trying his best to push Astrid off.
"A-as-astrid! St-t-top!" Hiccup wheezed out between laughs.
Her laughter died off as she looked down at Hiccup, she was straddling his hips. As she realized, she stopped tickling him, just resting her hands on his shoulders.
He was laughing, his eyes shut with laughter. After a moment, he opened his eyes and gasped as he realized how close he was to Astrid. "Oh, I'm so sorry, Astrid, I-I-I didn't mean to... oh gods."
Astrid laughed, smiling down at Hiccup. "Hiccup," she said to stop his nervous rambling. "Stop for a moment, okay?"
He stopped for a moment, nodding slightly. Astrid took a breath and leaned down.
They were only two inches apart, their breath mingling together in the frosty air. For a moment, neither of them moved, only just lying there in the snow. Finally, Astrid closed the gap and pressed a soft kiss against his lips.
Hiccup's eyes widened before they closed happily, but she pulled away after a moment. "Astrid...?" he mumbled happily, still not opening his eyes.
She laughed and pressed another kiss against his nose. "Get up," she said, getting up off of him.
"Huh?" Hiccup asked, struggling to sit up.
Smack. Hiccup fell down again as Astrid hit him in the chest with a snowball. Astrid laughed happily, smiling as Toothless jumped onto Hiccup, batting at the snow covering his body. Hiccup laughed and tried to push Toothless off of him as Toothless tried to claw his way up Hiccup's scarf. He looked up at Astrid, a large grin spreading across his face.
"Come on, Hiccup, let's go to the rink," Astrid said. "I'll go easy on you."
Hiccup raised an eyebrow. "Go easy on me?"
"Yeah, of course. The Canadiens can never beat the Leafs anyways," Astrid said with a wink.
"Oh, oh, oh. You take that back. The Habs can take on your precious Leafs any day."
"You want to bet on that?"
"I don't need to, I know that."
Astrid pushed him again. "Last one to the rink pays for the hot chocolate!" she yelled as she took off down the road.
"You know the hot chocolate is complementry, right?" Hiccup yelled after her.
She turned back and smiled. "Of course I do."
A smile spread across his lips and he looked down at Toothless who was weaving around his legs. "She's really amazing, isn't she?"
A year later, they had settled into a comfortable relationship. On whatever days they could manage to spare, they went to the hockey rink to play a game or two. Now Hiccup and Astrid were seventeen and in their senior year of high school.
Earlier in the day during one of Hiccup's hockey games, he crashed and the pain in his knee was too much for him to stand. Stoick took Hiccup to the hospital and still hadn't contacted Astrid with late afternoon, Astrid gave up on waiting and headed over to Hiccup's house. Stoick's car was in the driveway causing Astrid's heart jump into her throat. They had been home for a little while, judging by the few centimeters of snow piled on top of the hood of the car.
She knocked on the door and it took a moment for Stoick to open the door. As soon as he saw Astrid, relief flooded his face. "Astrid, it's good that you are here."
"Is Hiccup here?" Astrid asked. "He said that he was going to call once he came back from the hospital."
Sorrow flooded his face and Stoick held the door open for Astrid. "He's out back. I think he needs you."
Hiccup was sitting on a bench at the edge of the rink, snow dusting his shoulders, a telltale sign that he had been sitting for a little while. Astrid carefully walked down the snow trodden path towards Hiccup. Toothless, wrapped around Hiccup's feet, looked up and meowed a greeting to Astrid before snuggling closer to Hiccup's legs as if he was trying to keep Hiccup's feet warm.
"Hey Hiccup," Astrid said softly. "Mind if I sit?"
Hiccup didn't answer, only looking away from her across the rink. Carefully, she sat down on the bench beside him, gently brushing off the snow from his shoulders. "Hiccup?"
"Astrid, I don't want to talk about it," Hiccup said quietly.
"Please. I can't," Hiccup said, squeezing his eyes shut. "I can't. I can't. I can't..."
So Astrid didn't say anything, sitting beside him and waiting for him to say something. Neither of them said anything for a couple of moments, leading Astrid to wonder how long Hiccup had been outside.
Silently, Hiccup stood up, taking his hockey stick in hand as he walked onto the rink. Suddenly, he let out a loud yell, hitting his stick as hard as he could against the ice again and again. Astrid winced at every anguished yell and the cracks of wood against ice, unsure of which would break first, the ice or the stick.
Or the boy.
Finally, the hockey stick splintered into two and fell onto the ice with a clatter, Hiccup falling to his knees beside the broken stick. Astrid approached Hiccup, reaching out and placing a hand on his shoulder. Immediately, Hiccup reached towards Astrid, burying himself in her warm arms without a word.
"Whatever it is, Hiccup, you can get though this," Astrid promised, brushing the snow out of his hair before holding him even closer. "I know you can."
"No, I can't," Hiccup whispered, his voice hoarse from the screaming. "I can't. Hockey is all that I had and now I can't. I can't."
"Hiccup?" Astrid asked,
"It's... bone cancer, osteosarcoma, they're going to have to..." Hiccup cut himself with a sob.
Curiosity was killing Astrid, but she just held onto Hiccup, brushing away the tears as they started to freeze on his cheeks. Finally, Astrid said, "What is it, Hiccup?"
Hiccup took a deep, shuddering breath, clutching onto Astrid tightly. "They're going to have to amputate my leg."
Astrid couldn't say anything but, "Oh, Hiccup..."
The flood gates had opened. "I'm going to have to get chemo and if that doesn't going to work, they're going to have to take my leg. Oh god. This can't be happening! Not after what happened to Mom. This isn't going to happen to me, I don't want to... I can't..."
"It's going to be okay," Astrid tried to comfort him. "You're still going to be able to do amazing things even if you don't have a leg."
Hiccup turned to Astrid, fury barely masking the pain that still lingered in his eyes. "Yeah? I can do amazing things? Like what?"
"Like..." Astrid hesitated, trying to think quickly. "Terry Fox also had cancer and look what he did! He ran halfway across the country on half a leg and raised so much hope!"
"But Terry Fox is a hero! He's the kind of person you learn about in school or see on the TV! And I'm not that. I'm far from that kind of hero." Hiccup turned around, silent tears running down his cheeks.
Astrid hesitated for a moment, before quietly saying, "Maybe not, but you'll be my hero."
"But I'm just..." He gestured to himself. "... all of this."
With a smile, Astrid took his hands. "And all of this," she said, "is you." A hesitant smile made its way across his lips and Astrid smiled back. "We're going to get through all of this together," Astrid said, wrapping her arms around him. "Someday, you'll play hockey again. I'm going to make sure of that."
With a smile that only last a second, Hiccup returned the hug wholeheartedly. "Thank you, Astrid," he said as she pulled away.
She smiled. "You're going to make it through this," she said firmly. "I'm going to be there for you, ever step of the way. We're going to play hockey together again very soon. On this rink."
Looking down at their entwined hands, Hiccup asked, "How can you believe like this?"
"The same way I believe that the Leafs will make it to the Stanley Cup someday," Astrid said.
"So like, never?"
Astrid punched Hiccup's arm, making him yelp in protest. "Hey. Take that back."
He nodded, rubbing his arm where she had punched him, the smile still ghosting on his lips, but something in his eyes became uncertain.
Taking his hands again, she put all of her emotion into her voice as she said, "If the Leafs never make it to the Cup means that you will be skating on the rink beside me again, I'm okay with that."
Hiccup laughed, lifting his gaze to meet hers. "Hofferson, that's romantic for you."
"I know, see all of the things I would sacrifice for you?" Astrid said, bringing herself closer to Hiccup. Now that the shock of his diagnosis had worn off, Hiccup now shivered from the cold. "Come on, let's get you out of the cold."
Hiccup gave Astrid a genuine smile as she lead him back towards the house. "Wait," he said as they reached the back step.
"What is it?" Astrid asked, turning to face Hiccup.
Carefully, Hiccup reached up and cupped her cheeks with his cold hands. He carefully leaned forwards and placed a gently kiss on her lips. Astrid smiled into the kiss and wrapped her arms around his shoulders, deepening the kiss.
"You love birds come inside before you catch a cold."
They jumped apart as Stoick's booming voice came through the closed door. "Oh gods, Dad!" Hiccup yelled back, his cheeks turning an even brighter red in the cold.
Astrid laughed and gave him a quick peck on the cheek. "Come, let's get inside."
Sitting out in his backyard, Hiccup looked at the ice of his hockey rink in front of him. The low February sun reflected off the snow and a unseasonal warm breeze brushed against his cheeks.
Astrid squeezed his hand gently, her skates already laced up and ready to go. "You okay?"
Swallowing hard, Hiccup nodded. "I can do this."
With a smile, Astrid stood up and helped him stand up on his one foot and one prosthetic foot before helping him sit down in the hockey sled. Buckling himself into the seat, Hiccup placed his feet on the foot rest.
He looked up at Astrid beside him who was smiling widely. She held out the two shot hockey sticks to him. "Ready?"
With a smile in return, Hiccup took the sticks. "Ready."
Astrid pushed him onto the ice and for a moment, Hiccup slid with her momentum, but stopped in the centre of the rink. Looking back at her, waiting on the other side of the painted blue line, Hiccup placed the ends of the sticks on the ice and pushed himself towards her.
"Yes! You're doing it!" Astrid clapped her hands happily as Hiccup dragged the sticks on the ground to come to a messy halt beside her.
"Yeah, I guess I am," Hiccup said, his eyes filled with a strange mix of sadness and happiness.
"Hiccup, it's just going to some practice, you have to be patient."
He nodded, adjusting the grip on the sticks again. He pushed them against the ground, sending him gliding across the rink again.
"Turn!" Astrid yelled.
"I'm trying!" Hiccup yelled back. "Oh shit, how do I do that? I can't! Help!"
Astrid quickly took off down the rink and grabbed the back of his jacket, trying to drag him to a stop before he crashed into the goal posts, but unfortunately she couldn't stop them fast enough and she slipped and fell on top of him.
"Ow, Astridddddd," Hiccup moaned underneath her. "You're heavy get off."
Astrid was laughing as she sat back up, but when she looked down at Hiccup, she stopped laughing. "Hiccup, are you okay?"
His shoulders were shaking slightly and his eyes were closed. Astrid was sure if his eyes were open, there would be tears.
"Hiccup? Did I hurt you?" she asked, trying to check him for injuries. "Are you okay?"
He nodded, taking a deep breath before opening his eyes. "It's just so hard..." he whispered. "I've been skating for as long as I can remember. Now... I can't handle a puck, I can't turn, I can't even stop."
With a sympathetic smile, she helped him upright in his sledge. "I'll never be able to imagine what you are going through right now, but I am going to be here for you, I'll help you skate again, I promise. Someday, you'll be the best sledge hockey player, and you'll play on Team Canada in the Paralympics," Astrid said firmly. "It's going to take a long time, but you can do it. We can do it."
"Together... I like the sound of that," Hiccup said with a small smile.
Astrid smiled and gave Hiccup a quick light kiss on his forehead. "Together," she repeated.
Winter in Canada lasts most of the year. The only comfort that Hiccup had is his father, Toothless and hockey.
Now, he could add a brave girl named Astrid Hofferson to the list as well.
I hope you enjoyed this, I will update the next one soon. It's going to get better, lots more Tim's runs, Hiccstrid, hockey, and Haddock Family bonding. (btw sledge hockey or para ice hockey is hockey where players sit in a sled with blades on the bottom and propel themselves around with two short hockey sticks which they use to handle the puck as well. Paralympics is an important international event that doesn't get enough media coverage and attention compared to the Olympics.) Please follow, favourite, and comment!
Happy Canada 150, everyone!