Author's Note: So, I took two of my short stories that take place after Stone-Age Companions, "Courage In Dark Places" and the final chapters in the "Companion Files," and combined them into a longer story. It's not exactly the same, a lot of details have been changed. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of the characters mentioned in this story. They belong to Dreamworks and Disney respectively.
"Just one more time, North," Hiccup begged. "Then you can take it off."
"What on earth do you want to time travel for?" North asked. "Does this have something to do with MK?"
"Sort of," Hiccup admitted. "But I've always regretted one thing for nearly my entire life as a Guardian. I've put it off for a long time."
"We don't use time travel to fix our regrets, Hiccup. It doesn't matter how long we've put it off."
"Oh, I see how it is. You miss her. That's alright, there's nothing wrong with that. But you cannot go back in time just because you want to see her again."
"No, it's not like that. I needed to be there for her and I wasn't. Please, North, let me go. She needs me."
North sighed. "It's just you who's going?"
And me! Toothless jumped around to get his attention.
"How much time will you spend there?"
"Not more than a few hours. It's hard to say, I wasn't there the first time."
"Don't do anything dangerous, don't talk to anyone other than your family, don't stay any longer than necessary. Got it?"
"So I can go?!"
"One last time. This is it. After this, I really am taking the time travel feature off. Jack decided to travel to the 53rd Century with Rapunzel last week. Without my permission. This thing is more trouble than it's worth." But Hiccup wasn't listening. "Are you sure you want to do this? You look scared."
"I'm not scared. I want to do this for her…but it will be hard."
"That's ok. It is the last time you will get to see her. It is natural to be sad."
Oh, I love it when North gives lessons on emotions, Toothless said sarcastically.
"It's the last time she'll get to see me, too."
Whoa, wait. Hold on a second. When exactly are we going? Toothless asked.
Hiccup ignored him and took the snowglobe from North. He stood for a moment, studying it in his hands. Then he drew it close and whispered the date that was forever burned into his memory.
What! No, you can't do this! Toothless said. It's too much! You could run into yourself! I could run into myself!
Jump in the portal, Toothless, Hiccup said coldly.
He was so determined he almost looked angry, or like he was headed into battle. Toothless wanted to try and dissuade his friend, but he knew nothing could be done. Hiccup's mind was already made up. Reluctantly, the dragon jumped into the swirling mass of colors and crashed in the town square of New Berk.
Ow! I forgot how much time traveling hurts, he complained.
Never mind about that, Hiccup said, looking around.
This is a really stupid plan. What were you thinking?
What would you give for more time with Luna? Hiccup countered.
Toothless looked away, and Hiccup focused on the task at hand. It had been so long, and the town had changed so much over the years, he struggled to remember the old layout and reorient himself.
It was a grey, snowy day; Jack must have been upset about something. But it was more than that. People walked quickly from one place to the next, talking in whispers. Only one person had noticed him, Fishlegs' youngest grandson, Vidar, who had just turned 13, if Hiccup remembered correctly. He stood on the edge of the square, mouth hanging open in shock.
"We didn't expect you to get here this quickly," he stammered.
"Please tell me I'm not too late."
"No, she's still here. But hurry."
"Don't tell anyone you saw me. Find Zephyr later this evening and she'll explain everything to you."
I found her, I know where she is! Toothless said, sniffing the air.
Wasting no time, Hiccup leapt onto his back and they flew to the old homestead. The dragon door had been left open, so he took the liberty of flying straight in. It was his house, after all.
"Da?" a gentle voice called out hopefully.
Hiccup dismounted and quickly ran to Astrid's bedroom. Cecilia was sitting in a rocking chair in the corner. She stood up at the sound of his footsteps. She was a mirror image of Astrid. In fact, if her blue eyes hadn't been so vacant, Hiccup would have guessed that he had come to the wrong time, a time when Astrid was young again.
"Da, is it you?"
"Yeah," Hiccup said, swallowing. "It's me."
"Are you alright?"
She took a few steps towards the sound of his voice, trying to find him. Hiccup crossed the remaining distance and hugged her tightly.
"I'm here. I'm fine. Did I ever tell you how beautiful you are?"
"Yes, you told me yesterday."
"No, I didn't. I'm from the future. But I'll explain later. How's your mom?"
"I don't know. She hasn't spoken in hours. She was still alive last time I checked, but I think she's sleeping again."
"Where are your siblings?"
"Nuffink is trying to fix the well again, and Zephyr went to get some fresh water. Should I try to find them?"
"Yes, please. I'll stay here."
Cecilia took her cane and slowly made her way out of the room. Hiccup finally allowed himself to look at the bed. He had hoped that he would see a different picture than last time, but it was exactly the same. Astrid, so old and frail, lay in the exact same position as she had when a younger version of himself had found her later on that day. Hiccup realized there wasn't much time left.
Are you ok? Toothless asked from the front room.
Yes. Stay where you are for now.
With a deep breath, he crouched next to the bed, gently caressing her wrinkled hands. And just like always, her eyes fluttered open. Her blue, blue eyes that were forever young.
"Morning sleepy head," Hiccup whispered.
"Hiccup," Astrid breathed. She smiled weakly. "You're here. I'm not dying today."
"Always a fighter," he said quietly.
"As long as you stay with me, I know I won't die. I tried to tell you when you left, but you wouldn't listen. You were in such a hurry."
"I know. I'm sorry. I should have stayed longer."
"When we were young, when Anna became a Guardian, I saw you. Older you from the future. He told me that you wouldn't be with me when I died."
She paused and looked at him. Hiccup tried not to cry, but nevertheless, a few tears slipped through and spilled over.
"You…you are not my Hiccup," Astrid realized.
"No. I am also from the future. Your Hiccup is flying towards Berk right now. He tried so hard to get back in time."
"I am dying."
"Yes. But this time, you aren't alone."
"Everything works out," Astrid remembered. "And Lilith…"
"Cecilia's descendant," Hiccup said. "She's growing up fine. Elsa's taking good care of her."
"Oh," Astrid sighed. "Good. Where are the children?"
"Cecilia went to find them."
"Did you bring Toothless?"
Have I been summoned? Toothless poked his head in the door.
Come on in, but gently.
I'm not an idiot, Toothless said, lightly walking up to Astrid.
"Have you been taking good care of my Hiccup, boy?" she asked, laying a hand on his snout.
I've been trying.
"He says he's been trying," Hiccup translated.
"It's been so long since I felt dragon scales. Did you miss us?"
"Terribly. It was almost more than I could bear. There was always more family, of course. But I never loved anyone more than you."
"I must have been so boring for you in old age."
"No, never boring. It hurt to see you getting older, knowing I never could. Before I became a Guardian, I used to daydream about us growing old together."
"That was your price for becoming immortal. It must have been hard."
"It was. In my mind, you were still that tough, hot warrior that I fell in love with, who beat the crap out of me when we were younger."
"Was it worth it though? Do you ever regret becoming a Guardian?"
Hiccup noticed her eyes were starting to droop closed, and her breathing was becoming more irregular. Toothless sensed it, too.
She doesn't have much time left.
Go tell the others to hurry, he told Toothless. "I love my life as a Guardian," he said aloud. "I couldn't give it up now. But I do regret having to leave you behind. Sometimes I wish you would have been chosen to become a Guardian too. Or at least an immortal spirit like Jill."
"You envy Jack and Rapunzel."
"Maybe a little," Hiccup confessed guiltily. "But don't tell them."
Astrid smiled. "You are my Hiccup."
"Did you ever regret that I became a Guardian? Or that you married me?"
"No," she breathed. "I was scared. I was afraid you would leave me. But I never regretted loving you. I wouldn't have anyone else in the world."
At that moment, Toothless came back with the children. Zephyr, who had overcome her shyness and become the greatest chieftess of New Berk. Nuffink, who had traveled the world and come back with marvelous new inventions. And finally Cecilia, wise beyond her years and the emotional pillar of the family. However different their personalities, and however different they looked, at the moment they all were concerned for their mother.
"We're here, mom," Zephyr said, helping Cecilia to the bed.
"How are the grandchildren?"
"Mine are fine, they're all at school," Nuffink said.
"And Dagfinn is watching over our babies," Zephyr said.
"Good. They will all grow up to be fine Vikings. Cecilia, you and your husband will have children, too, someday. I'm sorry I won't get to meet them."
Hiccup across the bed at his youngest daughter, remembering that she had only been married for about a year.
"But you only have to live for a few more months!" Cecilia said, suddenly emotional.
"Please, mom, you have to try."
"I wasn't going to tell anyone yet," Cecilia said.
"I'm glad you told me. Now I know you'll be happy. You will be a good mother."
"You have to fight," Cecilia whispered.
"I can't," Astrid said. Her voice was now so weak it was hard to hear. "It is inevitable. Tell them, Hiccup."
"I'm sorry," Hiccup said, looking at his children.
"You can't give up on her," Nuffink insisted.
"I'm not. But I'm from the future. The present me is still flying towards Berk. By the time I get here…"
"I'll be dead," Astrid whispered.
"Yeah." Hiccup had to swallow again. "So I time traveled back, so I could be with you."
"And today is the day she dies," Zephyr said, her voice thick and dry.
"Even I could tell you that," Astrid said, chuckling.
But the laugh turned into a cough, and she couldn't speak for several minutes. Hiccup took the time to explain to the girls in more detail how he had gotten there, and what was going to happen when the present version of him arrived.
"I won't be strong for you. I'm sorry."
"But you're strong for us now," Cecilia pointed out. "You came back after all these years, and you're choosing to relive it again so you can be here with us."
"Yeah," Hiccup said, smiling. He had forgotten how clearly Cecilia could see situations, despite being blind.
Astrid could barely breathe now. She lifted her hand, and Hiccup took it between his.
"Hey. I'm still here. I won't leave you."
Somehow, she managed the strength to pry her eyes open. "I love you," she whispered. She looked around the room and sighed deeply. "All of you."
Using the last of her energy, she squeezed Hiccup's hand. He could feel her pulse slowing. Gently, he leaned over and kissed her forehead.
"I love you," he said. Then, in a whisper so low that only Astrid could hear, he said, "Cecilia names the baby Astrid."
And those were the last words she would ever hear. When Hiccup pulled back, Astrid was smiling peacefully, and you could have sworn she was sleeping. But Hiccup knew otherwise. He pressed his forehead to hers and silently screamed.
"She's gone, isn't she?" Cecilia asked.
Zephyr collapsed on the bed as gut-wrenching sobs wracked her thin frame. Hiccup turned and clasped her in his arms, sweetly kissing her forehead.
Grieve later, comfort now. Astrid wasn't the only reason he came back.
Hiccup stayed as long as he could, comforting his three children. He had missed them so much. But finally, Toothless reminded him that their previous selves had almost arrived. So, painfully, he said goodbye.
I can smell us, we're close, Toothless said. We can't use the portal here, we might see it.
We didn't see anything other than the house that day, Hiccup said.
I'm not taking chances, Toothless said, running towards the woods.
Hiccup followed him. Now that he had said goodbye, he wanted to leave as quickly as possible. He knew what would happen when he found Astrid, and didn't want to live through that part again. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw himself and Toothless flying desperately over New Berk towards the house.
"Home," he said almost hysterically to the snowglobe.
He threw it. His heart was pounding in desperation; the portal seemed to open in slow motion. Hiccup was about to jump in when it happened, and he froze.
A scream so full of agony and heartbreak that it had left him unable to talk for days. The Grief Scream, Cecilia had called it. After that, the roars of Thunderdrums and Screaming Deaths seemed like nothing to the Vikings. Later, they told Hiccup that the Grief Scream had been heard across all of Berk. Even old Gustav, who had been fishing on the other side of the island, had covered his ears and wondered what had happened. Hiccup collapsed to the ground, unable to bear both the Scream and the memories.
Merida appeared by his side via wisp almost instantly, much to the shock of them both. Hiccup remembered how North had immediately sensed something had happened, and sent for her and Jack. But even his cousin wouldn't be able to console Hiccup. Nobody would realize it until later, but the Scream had left him temporarily deaf. The only one he could hear was Toothless, and most of the time he ignored him. Future Toothless roared at her to go up the hill to the village.
"Hiccup!" she exclaimed. "What's going on?"
"Astrid!" Hiccup cried, tears streaming down his face. "It's not me, I'm from the future!"
"Why would yew come back for this?" Merida asked, kneeling beside him.
"Because I missed it," Hiccup yelled, his voice raw.
Hiccup, we have to go! the future Toothless was saying. Hiccup! Hiccup! The portal will close without us!
Merida was thinking the same thing. "Go home, Hiccup. Find me there. Take care of him, Toothless."
She helped him to his feet and practically threw him through the portal, Toothless bounding after him. Looking up, he saw ten-year-old Lilith curled up in the royal library. She looked up from her book and gasped. The dragon roared at her urgently, standing protectively over Hiccup, still curled in the fetal position on the ground. Lilith jumped up and ran out of the library.
"Mom! It's Hiccup and Toothless! Something's wrong!"
Toothless nudged him urgently, but he couldn't move.
I knew it was too much for him.
In a moment, Jack, Rapunzel, and Elsa were there beside him.
"Hiccup, what is it? What happened?" Rapunzel asked gently. "Are you hurt?"
Toothless tried to explain, but unfortunately, neither of them spoke dragonese, and Hiccup was still paralyzed. Jack lifted him onto Toothless' back and led them to their room in the palace. Elsa walked over to him as Jack and Rapunzel moved him onto the bed. She placed a hand over his heart and instantly drew back in shock.
"Elsa? What's wrong?" Rapunzel asked.
Elsa stared at Hiccup in almost sympathetic horror, tears streaming down her cheeks unbidden. "I've only seen that much pain in a few other people," she whispered. "Dad, can I talk with you for a minute?"
They retreated to a dark corner of the room and spoke in low tones while Rapunzel began to sing her song.
"Have you ever seen him like this before?"
"Once, a very long time ago. What did you feel?" Jack asked quietly.
"Grief," Elsa said. "I can hardly ever sense it like that unless it's over a loved one. When a death like that happens it brings up so much love…it's overpowering."
"He was like this when Astrid died," Jack remembered.
"But how?" Elsa wondered. "Why Hiccup, why now?"
"I don't know…"
At that moment, Rapunzel joined them, the glow slowing fading from her hair. "It didn't work. Maybe he's depressed or something. Maybe I should go get Anna…"
The three of them turned. Hiccup was lying in the exact same position, his eyes fixed on the same point.
"Hiccup, did you say that?"
"Anna can't see me."
"But why?" Rapunzel asked.
"Kristoff," he said after a moment.
Mutely the Frosts stared at each other, trying to figure it out. Then something clicked for Jack.
"Hiccup, tell me you didn't go back in time to see Astrid."
Hiccup opened his mouth, but no sound came out. Only a strangled cry. Toothless looked at them mournfully and nodded. Jack ran a hand through his hair worriedly.
"The only other time I've seen him like this was when Astrid died," he whispered to the girls. "He was called out on Guardian duties, and when he came back she was gone. I'm guessing he asked North for one last trip, and traveled back in time to be with her."
"But what does all that have to do with Kristoff?" Rapunzel asked, confused.
"You and I, Rapunzel, were the lucky ones. We're both immortal. But for just about everyone else, it's immortal being, mortal lover. This is Anna's future. "
"And mine," Elsa said quietly, thinking of Lilith.
"If Anna comes, tell her Hiccup's sick and I'm looking after him," Rapunzel said. "You two go on like normal."
"No, I'll stay," Elsa offered. "He needs me. Dad, watch Lilith for me, okay?"
Jack nodded, and, after one last glance over his shoulder, he left. It was several hours before Hiccup spoke again. Merida had arrived, called by Jack, not too long before.
"I don't know which time was worse," he said. It was so quiet that at first they all thought they had imagined it. But then he continued. "The time I wasn't there, or the time I was."
"Do you regret it?" Elsa asked softly.
Hiccup looked directly at her for a long time.
"No," he said finally. "But I sure wish it didn't end like this."
Elsa reached out and took his hand. "I know."