It had started small, as most terrible things did. Just an uncomfortable burning sensation that was easily ignored.
Then came the nights where he'd toss and turn and sweat till the sheets were soaked and his father had come running. Again, nothing too serious, and easily ignored.
But when my little human began stumbling more often than usual, I took notice of just how pale he'd become. He'd smile his crooked smile and laugh off the concern the yellow haired female had shown, but one hand would go to his leg and rub the wound carefully. I could smell the rotting flesh, hidden there underneath leather and metal and wood, and I saw the flashes of pain in my human's eyes.
Dragons couldn't understand what it was like to have a wound turn poisonous, of course. It never happened to us. Should we lose a leg or a tail, it just healed over like we never had that part of us to begin with. Truth be told, I had thought nothing of my human losing his leg. Shows how little I knew of his fragile nature.
Now, as the tribe elder bowed over the quivering form of my human, I stood my guard outside his window. He was ghostly pale and damp with sweat, shivering despite the raging heat coursing through his veins. I could hear it tear him apart, could smell the wound's fury.
I turned one ear towards the hissing voice, refusing to look away. Heavy footfalls came closer, and the hot breath hit my neck.
"Night Fury, you are worried for him?"
I didn't have to look to know it was the Nightmare known as Fireworm. I growled low in response, lowering my wings sorrowfully. "He is my human, Fireworm. Why should I not worry about him?"
The she-dragon flicked her tail thoughtfully, sitting a respectful distance away from the cheiftan's house. I stole a glance at the large creature. A look of thoughtfulness passed over her face. "I heard my human's father speak to the chief, you know", she growled, baring her teeth. "The humans think he cannot be saved."
"That's a lie!" I snarled, whipping my head to face her. "Hiccup WILL heal. How dare that flesh beast spread such tales? What does he know?!"
Inside, the humans all looked up towards the window, confused over my sudden burst of anger. This amused Fireworm slightly. "Temper, temper, Toothless." She nodded towards the humans. "They are dumb to our language, so yelling isn't going to win you any favors in their eyes." She was right, and I reluctantly lowered myself to the ground. The Nightmare looked to the sky. "I came to tell you that the others wish to hold a meeting about your human. After all, he is the one who freed us. Losing him would be like losing a hatchling." Fireworm gently rubbed her head against mine in a gesture of comfort. "We meet in one hour."
And then she was was gone, the air suddenly cold all around me. Slowly, the humans inside left to go to their seperate huts, and eventually even the chief left his son's side, walking slowly to his bed with many a backwards glance.
I made no sound as I crept back to my human's side, the horrid stench of dying flesh polluting the air around him. He didn't move when I gently removed him from the bed and laid down in the floor, his weak human body cradled in my majestic wings. I nudged him roughly, silently praying to the gods for him to wake up. I couldn't lose him. Not now.
An hour passed, and I, too, left.
The wind howled and wailed all around Fireheart Peak, higher than even the bravest human dared to venture.
Even before our peace and friendship with the humans, we would come here. Too far away from the Red Death for her control to be felt, and secluded from the world. Here we could talk in private, greeting even the most exotic and far away dragons with open wings (provided they kept their fire to themselves).
Flying there was almost impossible for me now, without my human, but somehow I managed to scale the jagged cliffside, climbing deftly as I could through the twilight. The shame of my crippled tail was felt deep, my pride almost as bad as the loss of my tail fin, but I had to keep going. The others expected me.
I arrived late to the sounds of one hundred dragons murmuring and trilling at once, worried voices rising above the screech of the wind below. I touched down heavily next to a Gronckle who bore the human-given name Horrorcow. She regarded me with a sleepy, yet worried stare. "Night Fury", she drawled, lowering her heavy head. "News of your human?"
I shook my head. "Nothing, not even a sound. And the stench of death is getting worse."
She made a low mournful sound, respectfully offering me a fish as consolation. I turned it away. No, I would not have any appetite until my human was returned to me. Horrorcow understood, as best a Gronckle was capable, and ate the fish herself before continuing in a dull voice. "You missed the small fight Red Ring got into with that big bull Nadder," she said, mostly disinterested.
"Over what?" I turned my head. Red Ring, one half of a very stubborn and short tempered Zippleback, was begrudgingly letting Blue Ring, his other half, lick the rather nasty wound on his neck.
Horrorcow shrugged. "Food, probably. But Fireworm had to break them apart. The Nadder has a broken tail now." She smiled smugly. I just sneered, turning my nose up at the two headed dragon. Zipplebacks were, in my opinion, little more than double the waste of space they would be on their own. Two heads and not a brain between them. How dare they fight here.
Fireworm caught sight of me and let out a silencing roar, alerting the hoarde to my prescence. They turned their eyes to me as I took center stage, my tail dragging behind me. I sighed heavily. "Brothers, sisters, welcome. We are here to discuss the human called Savior to our people....my Hiccup."
"Will he die, oh Night Fury?" A small group of Terrors were huddled together to my left, one raising up to my eye level with a worried, nervous flap of its tiny wings. "He is almost kin to us, like a brother....will he die?"
My heart stung. I bore my teeth. "If I have anything to say about it, no."
Fireworm snorted loudly. "If left with his fellow humans, he will. I've seen the wound myself. It is poisoned beyond their knowledge of healing." She gave me a knowing nod. "You know it's true, Night Fury."
I sank low on my haunches. Gods almighty, she was right.
Not that humans were dumb creatures of no intelligence, of course. MY human, at least, was as smart as any dragon. But they couldn't work miracles, and this needed one desperately. What could be done?
Horrorcow yawned in her corner and scratched behind her ear lazily. "What if we healed him?" All eyes turned to the Gronckle, who got suddenly shy. "What I meant was...well..." She looked at me pleadingly. "Night Fury, your kind is capable of healing, aren't you?"
I narrowed my eyes. "If I was, I would've healed my tail a long time ago, stupid Gronckle."
She shook her heavy head. "No no, not like that. My kin have long told stories of Night Furies healing downed and dying dragons in need. Legends exist. Couldn't you do that?"
Fireworm mulled it over and nodded. "Such legends do exist, Toothless."
Vaguely, I could feel that they were right. But whether it would work on my Hiccup was another matter entirely. He was, regrettably, very human and very mortal. I could not bring death to him by my own hand. It would destroy me.
Still, no other option presented itself, and with the clan in agreement, it was decided that the very least I could do was try.
And try I must, for in my heart I could feel Hiccup's spirit fading.
I waited a full two days before I attempted what had to be done.
Being proud, I told myself and any dragon who asked that it was for the sake of Hiccup's father, who hadn't slept in so long that his eyes were darker than the rain. But the truth of it was, I was scared.
Me? A strong, fearsome Night Fury, scared? It was unheard of, but it was true. I had never healed any creature before in my life. The knowledge that I could do such a thing wasn't even mine until the others told me. And the way I was to do it... My poor human was weak and dying already, what if it killed him?
But the wait had strengthened my need to save him, for in the two days Hiccup had worsened and lay on what the humans were calling his death bed. The elder viking sat at his side, gently wiping his forehead with medicine water, in vain trying to call his spirit back from the void that had swallowed him. The chief was on the other side, holding Hiccup's hand tightly in his own enormous fist. The strength it took the massive viking to keep himself from crying had sapped all the life from his muscles, and my heart broke for him. Poor man.
The yellow haired female, Astrid they'd called her, sat in the doorway to the hut, holding her shoulders and sobbing quietly to herself. She had not visited in a long while, and for that I could not forgive her. I knew how my Hiccup felt for her, and she didn't have the decency to even pay her respects before now?
Temper, Toothless, I reprimanded myself. Anger wasn't going to bring my human back. Instead, I took my place at the foot of the bed, laying my head down near Hiccup's feet and preparing to do what had to be done.
Finally, the elder sighed and stood, looking to the chief with sympathy. "There is nothing anyone can do now, Stoick," she said in a voice as old and tired as the setting sun. "He will not live through the night." The chief nodded solemnly, losing his control and allowing a few tears to spill. Astrid in the door could not bear the news and ran outside, wailing, into the arms of her mother.
I felt my heart tighten, and I knew.
It was time.
Climbing gently into the bed until I was directly over Hiccup, I ignored the confused looks I got from the humans. The chief shook his head in wonder and touched my hide. "You are mourning him as well, Toothless?"
I ignored him.
With a heavy heart I raised a paw to touch his pale forehead, and closed my eyes. "Forgive me," I murmured. "Forgive me for what I am about to do."
And with that, I sank my teeth into his shoulder.
Pure chaos erupted.
I couldn't see or hear what the humans were doing, of course. I could only vaguely make out that they were frantically tugging on my tail and wings to try and remove my grip on Hiccup's shoulder.
But I couldn't think of them. Not now.
The fire in my belly welled to the surface, stinging my mouth and burning my teeth, but I willed it onward, onward into the body of my human. I became aware that my mouth was bleeding only when the blue flames seared the red that was dripping onto his shirt, but even then I couldn't stop. Not just yet.
With a loud moan, I wailed a prayer to the gods, begging, pleading for this to work. Begging that when I released, his eyes would be open and he would walk out with me.
"Get off of him!"
I shrieked as the blunt of an axe struck the back of my head, and I stumbled off the bed, panicked that perhaps it hadn't been enough. Stoick had his arms around my neck before I could move, pulling me up and out of the hut. "You devil!", he screamed, throwing hard and heavy things at my head in his rage, "You monster!! How dare you?!"
All the eyes of the village were on me, my fellow dragons holding their breaths, asking me silently if it had worked or not.
And then the screaming began.
I knew it was Hiccup right away. How could I not? But this was a scream that no human should have been capable of. My mouth still in pain, and the blood of my ordeal dripping from my gaping jaws, I ran to the window to watch.
Something had worked, as far as I could tell. He was awake, painfully awake. Hiccup writhed in pain, screaming in agony as he tore at the blankets. My heart tore in two. What had I done?!
"It BURNS!!" Tears were streaming from my human's eyes. "Dad, h-help me!! IT BURNS!!"
"Hiccup!" I cried to him, scratching at the window, trying to get back in. "I'm sorry Hiccup! I'm so sorry!"
The human called Gobber tackled me to the ground with a net and tied my legs together. Funny, I had always thought a human missing a hand and a leg wouldn't be so strong, but despite my best struggling I was helpless to him. He scowled fiercely at me. "I don't know what you did to him, Night Fury," he said, putting his face directly in front of mine, "But if he dies because of you, I'm going to personally help Stoick cook and eat you. Do you understand me?"
I nodded slightly, not sure if he caught it or not. Not that it mattered. My human's screams slowly died, fading into a far too heavy silence. It seemed an eternity until the chief came out, who motioned for Gobber to speak with him.
I couldn't hear, but whatever it was surprised them both.