Author's Note: Hello there, it has been a long while since uploaded a new story here, but here we are. Like mentioned in the summary this is a sequel to my other story Collateral Damage. So if you haven't read this it's recommended you read it first. I'm hoping this story will be as good as my last one: Live my Sorrow. That one had a good premise so i'm crossing my fingers for this one.
Now this story is a lot different from the previous one as we'll see Hiccup in a situation he normally doesn't find himself in. I struggled hard with this story and I think I have it down good right now. Also don't let the title fool you, unless you thought of the actual meaning. Basically Hiccup and Toothless are stuck on the ground right now so they aren't flying. Either way without giving out any spoilers I hope you all enjoy this story.
Chapter 1: Grounded
The sun is shining high up in the sky as its rays shined down upon Berk, the town is bustling with activity, people going from place to place with their own agendas in mind. Within this flurry of activity, a familiar couple could be seen walking in the central square, destination in mind as they moved. Right behind them the two are being followed by a well-known Night Fury and Deadly Naddar. Anyone who passed them could hear the two talking to one another about something they were tasked with.
"Do you have everything you need?" Hiccup asked aloud in a semi-concerned tone.
"Yes, I double checked everything," Astrid responded in an almost annoyed tone, motioning to the sack that is hanging over her shoulder. Both of them not breaking strides as they continued to walk side by side through town. She had been asked this same question three times already and had to keep reassuring her friend without looking annoyed. "I have everything, and I know everyone else has everything, you don't have to worry and keep asking."
The one-legged teen let out a defeated sigh, hand reaching up to rub his head. He knows he's being overly concerned right now but he couldn't help it as that's all he just wanted them to be prepared. "I know, I know…I just want to be absolutely sure; I mean it's sad enough that I'm not allowed to go with you all."
"Same here," Astrid responded, she too sadden at the news as well, as it couldn't be helped. "But…Stoick is really adamant on it, and I don't think it's best going against it…especially with how firm he is being with this."
"Don't remind me," the teen sighed once more rubbing at his face upon being reminded of his current predicament. Recently Hiccup is recovering from a nasty cold that had him bed reddened for over a week. It was his own fault as he was taking his usual nighttime flight when it suddenly started to pour down raining. Hiccup was far out from Berk and had to fly back home, being pelted by the falling water. Unfortunately, it was cold as well since it was night, which made the water from the rain was freezing. Upon returning home he was completely soaked to the bone, that and he had to face a bit of chastisement from his dad about flying in the rain before he changed and went to bed.
Safe to say the next morning he woke up miserable. The poor boy had a clogged-up nose, fever and chills that made him shake uncomfortably and made him barely coherent. Toothless woke up and found his rider in this state, worried he then went to get Stoick. The chief seeing his sick son could only sigh as he went about caring for the boy. Hiccup was glad he was spared a lecture about his previous night actions as he couldn't deal with it. After being checked over completely Hiccup was told that he had to stay in bed until further notice. This happened to be one of the only times that the boy listened to his father, as he didn't want to leave at all…well more like unable to. He soon got better but once again Stoick wasn't finished being the overbearing parent he is.
Not long after they had received a message recently from Trader Johann, requesting some help for his ship, something that only a dragon could do. They weren't sure what the task was, but decided to give out assistance, so the Riders were instructed to go out and help him…all except one. Stoick prohibited Hiccup from going, much to his shock, stating that he didn't want to risk his son relapsing while off the island. The teen protested big time, saying that the others needed him, and that he's all better, but the chief wouldn't have any of it, and kept enforcing what he declared. Hiccup cringed when his father used the parental tone that was laced with his chief voice, which could make the teen nearly crumble at any argument. He unfortunately had to relent.
"I still can't believe we have to do this without you," Astrid responded back, knowing it'll feel odd without her friend, but she didn't want to argue with her chief and get in trouble herself.
"My dad worries too much…besides I would gladly sneak off and all to join you all…but that's not possible at the moment," another sigh left the teen's mouth as he looked back at his dragon, who is without his riding harness.
"What are the odds that your dragon's harness would tear so unexpectedly, now of all times" the blond asked, still surprised at the turn of events. It was like Odin was trying to keep Hiccup on Berk.
"I wore it down without even noticing, it was bound to need replacing sooner or later," the teen responded back, stopping to give his dragon a few pets to the head. "That or I took a few too many crashes and didn't notice any tears."
"You mean we, It wasn't just you doing all the flying," Toothless said, enjoying the pets, but showed his stance on the issue. "And even if I had that harness, I still wouldn't have allowed you off the island."
"Not to put your rider down, but I don't think he would put up much of a fight if he were to resist," Stormfly squawked at her dragon companion.
"I take no offense, he's special in a different way," Toothless warbled back.
"Still, you think you'll be able to handle the others without me?" Hiccup then asked, knowing how they could get on a normal day. Take the leader out of the equation and who knows what they will do.
"I will, when it comes to me being in charge, I just need to give a little incentive to gain cooperation," she smiled triumphantly, twirling her axe in hand. She watched as she got a smile from Hiccup, followed by a few chuckles, the dragons following in suit as well.
"Who can argue with that kind of persuasion," Hiccup responded back, a bit of the worry leaving him.
They continued walking through the town until they got to one of the cliffsides that overlooked the docks. Scattered around somewhat is where the rest of the riders could be found. They were all loitering around, napping, reading or in the Twins case, being held apart by their dragons. Both of them were shouting at one another as the two headed dragon looked about to lift the two by their tunics to keep them apart. The sight was quite amusing to Hiccup and Astrid, as the twins always seem to find something new to argue about, even if the reason was considered ridiculous. As much fun as it would be to keep watching they had to break it up now, before something else happened.
"Ok, listen up!" Hiccup called out, and like that everyone stopped what they were doing and listened…well not quite everyone as Fishlegs is the only one who obeyed. Both of the one-legged teen's brows furrowed at this, "Hey!"
"We all heard you," Snotlout grumbled, moving his helmet up away from his eyes, sitting forward as he let out a yawn. "Just some of us have more important things to do."
"Yeah!" the Twins responded together, still being held back by their dragon's heads. This annoyed Astrid and Hiccup some more as well as piqued some curiosity.
"I know I'm going to regret asking," Astrid started off, arms folded. "But what are you two arguing about now?" This caused them to stop, as they gave their attention to the two.
"Only the most important thing right now, that any team who ride Dragons should decide on," Tuff pushed away from his dragon before addressing everyone else. "Who is going to lead this mission."
Astrid and Hiccup's eyes rose at this but didn't get a chance to speak as Ruffnut took over. "Since our dear leader is forbidden from coming with us, then that means one of us needs to lead, and it's clearly obvious that it should be me!"
"No, me!" Tuffnut shouted back at his sister.
"Me!" they bashed their helmets together, growling.
"Neither one of them would be good at being in charge," Barf said, as the two heads went about to pull the two apart.
"Unlike our riders, I agree with you," Belch said.
"Um…I don't think either one of you would be in charge," Fishlegs responded a bit timidly, but had to say what is on his mind.
"You know Legs, you're right," Snotlout responded in a positive tone, which surprised everyone. The burly teen got up on his feet before pointing to himself with his thumb, a prideful expression on his face. "If anyone going to lead, it's going to be me!" a small silence followed that statement.
"You couldn't lead your way out of an exploding dragon egg," Hookfang said, getting annoyed at his rider's boasting. Part of him wanting to roast him to take his ego down a notch but they are leaving soon enough.
"That's not what I was saying Snotlout," Fishlegs responded back, in a tone that isn't amused.
"Come on, calm down," Meatlug said, knowing that these two didn't tend to get along, and could get into heated arguments at the worst of times. "Last thing we need is a fight."
"Oh yeah, and what were you saying exactly?" Snotlout's eyes narrowed at his companion and responded in a mocking tone. "Like Hel you think you have a chance at leading."
Fishlegs looked a bit hurt at the comment but wasn't backing down at all and narrowed his eyes. Thankfully it was then Hiccup took over before things could escalate, "None of you are in charge!" Everyone is then rendered silent as they looked over at their leader, eyes widened and still in shock. "Astrid is in charge of this one."
"Oh, come on, why would you do such a thing!?" Snotlout walked over to the two, complaining.
"Yeah!" Ruffnut responded back, folding her arms. "I would do way better."
"No, me!" Tuffnut shouted back, the both of them glaring at one another.
"Don't make us separate you two again!" Barf and Belch both said.
Snotlout rolled his eyes as he looked back at his cousin, "Again, what makes you think this is a good idea?"
Normally Hiccup would have responded back with a comment saying that he trusted Astrid a lot more than anyone else right now. Or the fact she is his second in command…but no, he felt a little playful right now, a rare thing for the teen, although it wasn't like it didn't happened, just on a rare occasion. He then gave a sly smirk, which Astrid seem to pick up on. "Because I know she's the only one that can keep you all in line."
Astrid smirked as well as she did the same thing from earlier and twirled her axe in warning. This seemed to get her point across as everyone else shuddered, eyes not able to leave the sight of her axe at all. They fully knew she would make good on this, as they have been on the receiving end of the double-sided weapon. Almost immediately the complaints stopped. "Uh…on second thought, I withdraw my argument," Snotlout responded nervously.
"Same here," Ruff said.
"Me too!" Tuff followed next. Fishlegs didn't need to voice his opinions as he didn't have a problem with it at all.
"Good, now just to be sure, lets review what you are to do," Hiccup responded, glad to have them in line, now things should go smoothly from here. "You all are to go out and help Trader Johann with his ship, it's that easy enough for you all…and anything else he asks of you. No accidents, no games, and no pranks" he explained clearly, wanting to make sure to lay the law down as once they were gone Hiccup couldn't rein then in.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Snotlout rolled his eyes with folded arms, now sounding a bit annoyed for some reason. "All I heard is that we have to go out of our way to help someone while you get to goof off here, leaving us to do all the work."
"Hey, it's not fun for me either," Hiccup argued, surprised that his cousin finds his situation as goofing off. He expressed so much how he wanted to go but that seemed to go on deaf ears. "I rather go with you guys, but unless one of you wants to argue with my dad over it please be my guest." The teen looked at his group of friends to see their reaction. He actually wanted one of them to argue to his dad in hopes his order would be rescinded, telling the truth about wanting to go…yet the more he looked at them, the more that they didn't seem to be keen on the idea. All of them looking a bit nervous at the suggestion. Hiccup couldn't help but chuckle at the faces they were making, seeing they weren't going to do that at all. Much to his displeasure.
"You know, on second thought, doing all the work doesn't sound as bad," Snotlout responded back.
"Yeah, it shows how good we are at our job," Tuffnut said next, getting a nod from his sister. "And more credit to spread among us."
"Now unless there are any more complaints, lets all head out!" Astrid called out, now assuming command, as everyone nodding in agreement and went to mouth their dragons.
Hiccup went over to Stormfly, patting the Nadder on the side, which made her squawk happily, "I'll see you all in a day or two."
"Same here, and don't stress yourself, we'll be good, and I'll keep them in line," Astrid commented atop her dragon.
"Hope you stay healthy Hiccup," Fishlegs called out, making his friend roll his eyes.
"I'll be fine, my dad is worrying for nothing," Hiccup responded as he gave a wave, watching as his friends then took off into the air, flying off towards the ocean and soon enough they were out of sight. Now alone on the cliffside Hiccup couldn't help but sigh, not sure what he should do now as his options are limited. He turned towards his dragon, seeing the usual tilted head expression, "So…since we can't fly…what do you want to do bud?"
The Night Fury gave a warble, "Not sure, but I'll be watching you just in case you get sick."
It was then the teen's stomach grumbled, causing him to place a hand against the clothed part of his body. Obviously, the answer being solved for himself. "Come on, lets gets something to eat, I'm pretty hungry right now," Hiccup then started to walk off, his dragon walking behind, warbling happily.
Later on in the day, just as the sun is going down, Hiccup could be found walking through the nightly streets of Berk. Throughout the day he had been having trouble trying to figure out what to do to occupy his time, since flying is out of the question. Plus, he didn't have any other responsibilities to tend to, thanks to his dad once again, as the chief didn't want him overworked after getting better. For the most part, he spent a good portion of the day at the at the cove just spending time with Toothless. He fished at the small lake, and even had lunch there. After a point he decided to sketch his dragon, which seemed to pass the time away, preventing some boredom for the time being. Now it was time for him to be heading home…but there was something he had to do first.
His ears registered a familiar tune being hummed as he got closer to the forge. Inside, through the service window, Hiccup could see Gobber arranging things on the many shelves, the blacksmith oblivious of his nightly guest. Walking into the forge Hiccup stood behind his mentor, chuckling at the antics, "Evening Gobber."
The humming ceased as the large man turned, a smile immediately gracing his face, "Hiccup! What brings you over?"
"Not much," the teen responded with a wave and smile. "I'm just here to check on the progress of Toothless' riding harness."
Now the Blacksmith frowned upon hearing, "Oh, sorry there, I haven't had time to start on it, as I had a lot of orders to complete."
Hiccup sighed at that, figuring that was the case, yet had a glimmer of hope that it would be done so he could get in a nighttime flight. It would do both him and Toothless good, despite that's what got the teen sick in the first place, but hey there was no sign of rain tonight. Looking around Hiccup then spotted his gear on one of the shelves and walked over to it, "You know I could give you a hand an-"
"Oh no," Gobber then grabbed the teen by the back of the vest and lifted him up, with a small shout. "Until your father gives me the order… face to face, you're still not allowed to work here, including on your dragon's saddle."
"Oh, come on Gobber, I'm fine, why can't anyone of you accept that?" Hiccup sighed in disappointment as he's moved back to his original position and released.
"I don't make the rules lad, your father does, besides I agree with him on this. In fact, I wouldn't have allowed you to continue working even without the order," the blacksmith stated, but eyes rose as he saw the irritated expression on his apprentice's face. He knew that look all too well as the boy gave him the same expression when told he wasn't allowed to do something. He sighed deeply, a calloused hand rubbing at his face, "Look I know it's not fair to you, but it's for your own good."
"I know, I know, that's all I hear nowadays…" both of the teen's arms folded. "It's bad enough my dad tells me I'm not allowed to go out with the others, but now he forbids me from working at the forge. I'm fine, why can't anyone else see that?"
"He's just looking after you Hiccup," Gobber tried to defend his friend, understanding the chief's intentions.
"That is what he says," the teen folded his arms. "Yet…it just bugs me a lot…bad enough I'm stuck here…especially flightless…all I have had is just my thoughts as of late."
Gobber was silent after that, taking a look at the kid's face, "Are you sure that's not all that is on your mind?"
"Huh?" Hiccup's eyes raised in confusion.
"Is there another reason why you're venting like this?" Gobber asked once more, sensing something else is up.
"I…uh…well…" Hiccup then rubbed the back of his head, not realizing what he had been doing.
"Still having nightmares?" the blacksmith asked, referring to something they both knew. "About…you know what…right?"
Hiccup is silent as he looked away, instead focusing his eyes on the open service window, as it allowed him to look up at the darkening sky. It has been just over two months since the incident where the teen took his first life…and the fallout that came from it. Truth be told despite coming out fine Hiccup would be lying if he said he hadn't still thought about it. Now and then he would have nightmares about the people he killed. Their cold and dead faces just staring at him, still accusing him of killing them. He would usually wake up in a cold sweat, that or wake up screaming prompting his father to usually come in and comfort him. That happened to be one thing he was grateful for: his dad being understanding of everything.
Stoick wouldn't chastise his son for the nightmare, nor would get angry for being woken up during the middle of the night. He would always be there to give his son some helpful and kind words that could help him feel better. It heled Hiccup endure the mental stress that came from at times, but on the rare occasion he would nearly have a panic attack. Luckily, he didn't have one in the middle of Berk, and someone would be there to help. During these times he would talk to either his dad or Gobber about these things, instead of holding it in.
"N-Not really…I'm doing good right now…I-I mean, I still see their faces but I'm not crumbling yet," Hiccup responded, but surprised upon realizing he said 'yet'.
"That's good lad," Gobber nodded with a small smile, believing his apprentice. Ever since confessing how his first kill has been affecting him Hiccup has been open about his feelings regarding it. He didn't want to end up the way he was before as he had wanted to kill the defenseless Outcasts and Berserkers. All in an attempt to not seem weak. That wasn't him, and he didn't want any part of that again, as it frankly scared him. So, any time when the kills bothered him he was always truthful about how it was affecting him, something the blacksmith is relieved at. "Just remember, anytime you want to talk, don't hesitate."
"Yeah, Thanks Gobber," the teen smiled, feeling a tad bit better about his situation.
"Hiccup!" a familiar voice called, making both humans and dragon turn to look. Outside the service widow they saw it was Stoick approaching and seeing them. "There you are."
The boy winced at seeing his father, fully knowing where this is going, "Oh, hey there dad."
The chief came into the forge, Toothless making room for the larger man, "I didn't see you at home."
"Yeah, I was just checking on something," Hiccup said in excuse, which was the truth.
"He wasn't working, was he?" Stoick asked Gobber in confirmation. Knowing that his friend would bend the chief's rules now and then and go behind his back. Stoick knew Gobber had a soft spot for Hiccup would allow him to get away with lots of things…although that is what he assumed.
"Nope, not one bit," the blacksmith happily responded.
"Good," Stoick nodded, glad his rule was being respected before turning to his son. "Now Hiccup come along, time to go home."
The teen ended up nodding in compliance, a small, irritated sigh leaving his mouth. This is what he was worried about, and only made his dad more overbearing. This is something that has been happening for a couple of days now. If Hiccup wasn't home at a certain point his father would come out and look for him, treating him like a small child, thus showing how small of freedom he has at the moment. He wanted to argue about it being ridiculous but knows it would be best to do as he was told right now, but it didn't mean he has to like it, "Dad, I'm fine, there's nothing to worry about."
"That is what you always say, then the next minute something is always plaguing you," Stoick brought up.
"Not always," Hiccup retorted but didn't really have a leg to stand on as what was said is true most of the time.
"Wait till you're a parent and you'll completely understand," the chief commented softly as he ushered his boy and dragon out. "I'll see you tomorrow Gobber."
"Take care you two," the blacksmith waved the two off, as he watched them walk off. Gobber couldn't help but think if Stoick's current bout of overbearingness has anything to do with Hiccup's cold at all, and instead is using it as an excuse. Either way he didn't dwell on it, as long as Hiccup is safe, he'll be good. Turning back to the shelves he resumed his work, humming his all too familiar tune.
Meanwhile high up on one of the high of Berk, one lone Viking stood on a platform that overlooked the whole village and the vast sea. This happens to be a crow's nest of sorts for the village, as for the night this one human is responsible for looking out for trouble and alerting the village for any incoming trouble. He sat upon a large chair, and a large horn sitting before him, which is only to be used to alert the village if anything of concern is found.
"Another boring night on watch duty…" he spoke in distain, hating this post as it's boring most of the time. Usually this job was done with two people, but for some reason the second guy he was partnered up with hasn't shown up. Odd, but he may be running late, that's fine with him as long as he got here. "Well…at least there is plenty to keep me entertained." He hung a lantern on a metal hook, which is embedded into the ground. Pulling out his burlap sack he then reached in and pulled out a block of wood, taking out a knife in the process. He planned on carving something random to help pass the time. Wood carvings can help make the time fly by when done right and-
"Who's there!?" he shot up out of the chair, turning around with his knife pointed forward. Behind him is a slope leading back down to Berk, which had some bushes surrounding it. He waited for a moment but nothing else came out, but he didn't let his guard down. Putting the knife back, he then reached for his sword just as another crunch is heard. "Toke, is that you?"
Toke happens to be the other Viking that was supposed to be on watch with him. Part of him started to relax as it could be him…but another part of him is starting to think overwise. Weapon drawn he grabbed his lantern and walked over towards the bushes, ready for any surprises. Getting closer he held out the only source of light to help illuminate the area. Deciding to take a stab at it he then thrust his sword in, but only got rewarded with the bushes moving, rustling as he did. A bit of relief filled him as he then got closer and couldn't see anything.
"Well, that's a relief and-"
His heart immediately started racing as he turned around to where the source of the sound came. He definitely saw movement that time as it seemed to get closer, causing his nerves to flare up and…
Only for a Terrible Terror to come out of the foliage.
"Oh, just a dragon," the man's body relaxed, but did a double take upon looking at the small lizard. The terror looked sickly in a way as it wasn't flying. It looked like it was…almost drunk? He went over to the dragon and knelt down as the Terror collapsed. Being as gentle as he could be he picked up the small lizard, and is surprised to find that the dragon is sleeping. "Odd…strange place to fall asleep here…well little guy looks like-Umph!"
All of a sudden, a hand clasped around his mouth as strong arms pulled him back, followed by a large strike to the head, and then darkness.
A/N: Hope you like, things are setting up and turning out really interesting so far. I bet you all have many questions about what is going to happen, but sadly i'm not going to give up the answers so easily. That will be a spoiler. I'm glad i'm able to upload this story, as this is something i've been wanting to do. The reason will be revealed in the next chapter as I don't want to give away spoilers. Either way I hope you all enjoyed this story and stay tuned for the second chapter. If you have any questions feel free to ask.