To Wait a Lifetime
Summary: Hiccup was never considered normal. Until his last days, his bond with his dragon remained a curiosity and a continuing source of inspiration for the village. Hiccup/Astrid. Hiccup/friendhip/Toothless
Warnings: Huge spoilers for the movie.
Disclaimer: I do not own, nor am I profiting from anything in relation to HTTYD.
AN: I really hope you guys like this. It is from the point of view of many characters, both major and minor. I tried to create a relatively realistic portrait of how Hiccup's life would progress without straying from the main themes of the story. Most of all, I want to be able to express the intense bond that Hiccup and Toothless share. In my eyes, it is completely unique to any other relationship in the film.
For it has all
Been made to plan
Though I know
I will fail
Be made to laugh
For in life
As in death
I'd rather be burned
Vikings didn't know a lot about Dragons.
It was only until the village was reformed and the dragons became a common part of life that they learned a few basic facts.
The first fact was that dragons ate a lot. Hiccup wished he was over reacting but the truth was that dragons were gluttons. Their sheep industry was failing, the bulls were too scared to sire any heirs and even the hares seemed to be hiding. It wasn't long before they established their first rule: don't feed the dragons. It seemed harsh at the time, after all, once the mind numbing fear of a two headed giant reptilian faded, they started to look slightly adorable. He hated the job of scolding the younger villagers who would pass a bone or two under the table for an especially long and flexible tail.
The second fact was that a dragon chose their rider. It wasn't often that they had to rush anyone to the healing hall for burns. It was once in a blue moon that an arrogant young Viking would try to hoist itself on top of a resting giant, only to be scalded and limping for a week. Once the dragon chose the rider, to ride any other beast was the worst of insults. For the twins, that unfortunately meant a lot of bickering.
The third and most important fact was that a dragon would always outlive its rider.
Stoick was never completely at ease around dragons.
He had been trained from birth to fight until death, to wrestle with the great beasts until only he was the victor or to die trying. He often thought about the dozens of dragons that he had pulled an axe from, a feeling of satisfaction welling in his stomach at the sight of its lifeless blank eyes. The thought now made him sick.
"Hey, dad, could you pass the ham?"
Hiccup was grown; he was a man. When he looked over at his son, his boy, he couldn't help but feel a swelling of pride within his chest. His mother would be so proud.
"Dad, I don't have all day." An accompanying growl followed his son's words and the Night Fury peered at him from behind his son's slight form. He now knew what a benefit his sons form was to his flying, there was no chance that he could have reached the speeds he did with a physique like his fathers (or even his mothers).
He handed the ham over, his large hands for a moment contrasting against his son's smaller, slender hand. As Hiccup took the leg of ham, the Night Fury peered at the meat and licked its lips. His son immediately looked up at the dragon, "No, Toothless, I can't keep feeding you."
The dragon rumbled his chest. Hiccup replied, "I don't see how that's my problem. And I don't want to see you in the slaughterhouse later tonight, either."
The sleek dragon dipped its head and placed its great skull on Hiccup's lap. His son smiled peacefully as he stroked the head. A sound like that of purring rumbled through the beast's chest. It was a peaceful scene, his son and his dragon silhouetted against the flickering lights of the fire. Tÿr had guided his village into peace.
It struck him how Hiccup was able to understand the Night Fury. He had been watching the other dragons and their riders and still, the dragons were always the ones in control. When Fishlegs tried to call his dragon, he was always left waiting for it to appear. With the other villagers, it was painfully obvious how untrained and wild a dragon was. He knew that no matter how trained and familiar they would become to the riders, they would never allow themselves to be mastered as they were by the Red Mist.
And yet, when Hiccup told Toothless to wait for him, the dragon would stop and wait patiently for his rider. Even when he wasn't riding his dragon, the beast would walk beside him, matching his son's pace until he could curl up beside him. There was an understanding in the Night Fury's eyes, an emotion that he only glimpsed for a moment as he swam in front of him, ready to release the binds of his prison.
He didn't think that Hiccup noticed his strange understanding of the dragon's sounds but there never seemed to be confusion between the two. When Hiccup told the dragon to fly, the Night Fury would shoot into the sky at break-neck speeds. When he told Toothless to stay out of the slaughterhouse, he flattened his ears as if he was ashamed.
"Are you going to save any for me?" Astrid asked as she walked into the hall, her smile widening at the sight of Hiccup and Toothless. At the sound of her approach, Toothless's ears stood erect and his eyes focused determidly on the door. By Fishlegs assessment, his sense of smell wasn't as keen as his eyes and for a moment, he saw the dragon's tail move to circle around the bench he leaned over with Hiccup. It struck him once more that the bond between his son and his dragon was deeper then he had ever seen.
"Oh, well, if you'd like a bite, I'm pretty full." Said Hiccup as he looked at her, adoration shining nakedly through his eyes. If there was anything he was proud of with his son, it was his choice of woman.
When Astrid walked behind the bench, she ran a slender hand up Toothless's spine. Unlike when Hiccup did so, he didn't close his eyes and rumble deep in his throat. He simply regarded her evenly before putting his head once more into Hiccup's lap. He noticed that his eyes sometimes darted towards his son's makeshift leg. It was a protective gesture.
She stepped over the bench and sat on its wooden ledge, taking the leg from him and biting into it heartily.
He decided to excuse himself, sensing that a moment of rare peace for the couple could be found.
When he looked back, he saw intelligent, knowing eyes watch his back.
When Hiccup proposed to her, Astrid felt like her life was complete.
They were on the ledge of a great stone pillar, there legs dangling over the sheer drop that would surely end the life of any unfortunate tumbler. The sound of breaking waves echoed throughout the lanes of stone, contrasted by the high pitched screaming of the Seagulls.
The sun was setting and in the distance, Toothless was soaring towards the water, his eyes following a silver form as it danced through the waves. She couldn't see the leather straps which allowed him control of his tail but for a moment, the reflection of the clasps blinded her eyes.
"It's nice, isn't it?"
She sighed, "Yeah, it is.
There was silence again and the waves sounded warm and familiar against her ears. Her dragon was lying on an opposite pillar, its large form engulfing an entire ledge as it basked in the receding sun. She sometimes felt insecure next to Toothless. She often wondered why she didn't share the same deep bond with her dragon that Hiccup seemed to have. Sometimes, the Night Fury made her feel like she was simply a point of no interest. Why was it that she couldn't distinguish what growl meant what when Hiccup could simply smile at the sound and offer the dragon a fish?
"So, we've been together for a long time, haven't we?" Said Hiccup. He was older then when she first met him. He was still lanky but he was taller and his face had matured. His eyes still shone with emotion, his leg still causing him to update its design every few months.
"Yeah. A few years."
"Well… how do you feel about… maybe, making a change? With us, I mean."
She looked at him, horrified, "Are you breaking up with me?"
"No! What? How did you get that? I was asking you to marry me!"
She stared at him, shocked, amused and little bit confused. It registered after a moment of uneasy silence that he had just proposed to her.
"I knew I would mess this up. Good work, Hiccup, you just did the exact opposite of what you meant." He was biting his teeth with anger at himself and she fell just a little bit more in love with him at the sight.
"Yes, I think I will."
He looked up, disbelief on his face, "Really? I mean, you want to get married? To me?"
"Yeah, to you."
He smiled and it was so wide and genuinely happy that she felt like kissing him, just to see if she could capture the sight.
When she moved into their house in the week following their marriage, she noticed a change in Toothless.
She had always wandered where the great dragon slept at night and when she first walked into his old room and saw the way he was curled against the small wall in the tiny bedroom, she felt like laughing at the sight. She could see that Hiccup would curl up beside him and they would sleep, albeit uncomfortably, relatively soundly until the dawn. Her own dragon had always slept outside, although it returned to her in the sunlight hours.
When Hiccup stepped into the house and declared, "Well, Toothless, I guess this is ours now," the dragon peered into the high ceiling hall and sniffed hesitantly. The townsmen had taken into account the dragon when designing the house, fortifying the beams and allowing for an open space to accommodate for the energetic dragon's leaping and crashing. Above the hall, they had even created a platform, lined with straw, which would be Toothless's new sleeping area. In the cold seasons, the fire's heat would warm the wood, making the space cosy and hot for the dragon.
She thought that the dragon would accept the change and settle into their new life.
Embarrassingly, after Hiccup and her had spent themselves and were lying together under their furs and skins, exhausted and tired, Toothless would slip into the room and nudge Hiccup's form. She felt sorry for the dragon that didn't understand the sleeping arrangements. He was used to curling next to the wall and feeling the small body of his rider beside him as he slept deeply. The emptiness of the hall was unfamiliar to him.
The first time it happened, Hiccup simply sighed before getting out of bed, slipping on some clothes and leading the dragon out of the room. She could hear clambering in the hall as the dragon jumped onto the beams of the house to reach his makeshift den. Hiccup didn't return to bed that night but when she walked into the hall to check on him, she saw his pale form asleep in the high den. She understood his methods as Toothless needed to be shown where and how to sleep in his new home.
After a week, when her husband hadn't once slept a full night in their bed, she spoke to him about it. He nodded and sighed and seemed to understand. His eyes, always full of emotion, spoke volumes about how he really felt.
They barred the door to their room that night. Just after they had settled under the furs, she heard a sound. It was like that of a dog after it has been injured, except deeper with a great rumble to it. When she looked over at Hiccup, he was staring at the ceiling, his eyes shining suspiciously and his mouth set firm, his jaw clenched.
She realized that Hiccup didn't share the same relationship with his dragon that others did. There was a closeness to the pair that made her feel unwanted and useless. Even when the keening sound stopped, she could still feel Hiccup's eyes as he stared at the ceiling and willed his limps to refuse the call. When she got up the next morning, she nearly tripped over the sleeping form of the dragon, lying outside the door.
Sometimes, she would feel the bed dip as he walked to the door and simply stared at its frame. He never unbarred it but she could sense his disquiet as she willed herself to sleep.
Years after their marriage and the birth of their first child, Jonsi, war threatened their homes again.
When word spread to neighbouring villages about their unique control of the dragons, it wasn't long before sistering tribes were using their influence to visit the village. They were stunned, in awe and confused over the way the beasts simply adapted to the lives of the humans. Even more so, they envied the connection between Hiccup and the rare Night Fury.
When they asked for their secrets and dragons, and were refused, war was declared.
Stoick still lived and ruled, although it was assumed that upon his relinquishing of power, Hiccup would rule in his stead. As he had yet to fly a dragon, he passed the war to his son, who used their secret weapon to crush their enemies. Instead of nightmares flinging themselves upon their houses, it was neighbouring tribes who would raid the village in the dead of the night. They never succeeded but their persistence was yet another challenge upon the village.
It was just like any other day when Hiccup took to the skies. A young Viking scout had reported a raid of half a dozen long boats and he had wearily pulled on his armour. Toothless didn't seem to mind and he stretched his back as they walked to the cliffs of the village. In the distance, a few small shapes obscured the perfect horizon.
His team assembled themselves, waiting for their dragons who were always keen to fight and fly. Sometimes he wondered why the dragons never reacted to their riders as Toothless did to him.
When he plunged off the cliff, Toothless's great wings spread against the black sky and he felt at home. He manoeuvred his dragon vertical and they climbed to the heavens. The wind stung his eyes.
"Okay, Toothless, this is it. Aim for the biggest." A roar followed from his dragon and below, lanterns began to shine on the boats.
They dived and the wind pressed against his body. The sound of their approach rippled across the oceans and he could see his team begin to attack from all angles. He was the sky and they were from the side. He didn't usually like to harm anyone but he recognized the boats and was struck by how often the same raiders made the journey.
It was only until Toothless was spraying blue fire upon a boat that he was close enough to see their new designs. A small catapult like machine was hoisted on the deck of the boat. Within a few moments, rocks were flying through the sky, challenging Toothless's speed.
They were easy to dodge and it was even easier to take down the boats. When only one was left, Hiccup gestured to Fishlegs who nodded bravely. He always left the last boat to his team; just so they practice whatever new techniques they had learned.
As he was flying away, a strange noise filled his ears, in like to that of Toothless's diving. Within a few moments, he was falling to the ocean, his dragon roaring in pain as he fell as well. He knew that it had been the catapult; he knew he should have destroyed it himself.
The water felt like stone as he hit it. He lost consciousness immediately.
When he woke up, his head swam.
"It's about time you opened your eyes," he recognized his wife's voice. Although it was stern, there was a level of sympathy and concern that made him feel comfortable and at peace.
His head felt tight and restricted and when he lifted a hand to it, the feel of bandages surprised him.
"You hit your head on the sea floor," she said as she smiled and smoothed a hand over his forehead. Jonsi was in his crib that, like all Viking families, was in the master bedroom. Astrid kissed him gently and he could see the fear in her eyes.
"Is everyone else alright?"
She bit her lip and looked away. He knew almost immediately what was wrong, what was missing, "Where's Toothless?"
She spoke softly, gently, as if scared to frighten him, "He's… in the hall."
"Is he alright? What's wrong with him?" He was pushing the blankets back, grimacing at the way his head swam and ached. His prosthetic leg creaked at the weight of his body but he ignored it as he limped to the door.
Astrid allowed him to lean against her, her raw strength easily supporting his weak and fragile body. Eventually, they passed through the door and even though the pain of his unused limbs screamed at him, he hurried over to the still form of his dragon.
Toothless was lying on his side, his wings curled behind him and his eyes clothes. Around his ribs, large white bandages were circled and when he listened closely, he could hear a slight hitch in the dragon's breathing. He turned to his wife, "what happened?"
"The rock from the catapult… it broke a few ribs. He's fine now but because he was so heavy, getting him here really took the strength out of him. It'll be a few months before he can fly properly. His wings will put too much pressure on his rib cage."
The news was better then he expected but he still felt a distressing rush of anxiety fall over him. Limping to his dragon, he placed a hand on his brow, rubbing the thick skin gently. At his touch, a tired, lethargic eye opened and looked at him. He felt tears well in his eyes, "It's alright, buddy. I'm here. It's alright."
The dragon moaned in the back of his throat and he could the feel the vibrations from the action shudder through his lying form. Sitting, he guided the dragon's head into his lap, still gently stroking his head. Toothless's green eye looked up at him for a moment before closing once again.
"It's alright. I'm here now."
Astrid felt like an intruder.
Astrid loved kids.
She loved running after them, teaching them how to walk, teaching them how to talk. She loved the feeling of her child hugging her and then watching him run off to play with his friends. She loved platting her daughters hair and then telling her that she was beautiful and then see a small rosy blush line the child's cheek.
She was scared. Her third child was ready to be birthed and the familiar pains of his arrival tore through her body with a lightening ferocity, only to subside into an aching throb. She was excited, exhilarated, and ready… but she was worried about her child.
It was early, still weeks off when the midwife had expected the child to come. She was worried because when the other women had children early, they were sickly and weak.
Hiccup was beside her, his hand in hers. She could see the same fear in his eyes, the same worry about how early it was. Despite the freezing cold of winter, there was sweat dripping into her eyes and her face was flushed with stress and heat.
"Okay, Astrid. You're doing great. Just one more great push when I tell you."
Astrid nodded and looked towards Hiccup. He squeezed her hand and kissed its back. She felt ready.
When she pushed and screamed and then cried from the pure relief of agony, she listened. Her first child had taken a minute to scream, her second barely a moment. Both of her children had grabbed life from the moment they had entered the world.
And yet, no screaming met her ears.
Hiccup suddenly stood up, crouching next to the midwife who was turned away from her, her arms moving vigorously. She knew that sight. When her mother had given birth to her second child, the baby had come out blue and silent. When the midwife took the child, she had vigorously rubbed it, to shock air into its lungs. It had not worked.
Hiccup covered his face with his hands.
She cried, a deep, silent cry that took all of the energy from her body. When she held her silent baby in her arms and listened for a heartbeat, she crouched over his small body and sobbed. Eventually, her body tired and she escaped into the darkness of her dreams. She never wanted to wake up.
Hiccup left the room shortly after she fell asleep.
Toothless had been waiting in the hall, his body alert at the sound of screams from Astrid. When he walked into the hall, he didn't even look at the dragon as he left his house. He ran to the woods, the sound of Toothless's running slowly behind him filling his ears.
He didn't care that it was dark or that he didn't know where he was going. He only wanted to get away, to separate himself from the pure agony of the situation.
When he finally stopped in a small clearing, he simply stood and looked up at the sky. The stars were blotted from rain clouds and before long, his hair was wet and damp and his body soaked. He didn't know if it was tears or rain, which lined his face, but he didn't care because his child would never walk, never talk and never smile.
After countless moments, the rain ceased to fall on him, although the puddles continued to fill. A dark wing suspended itself over his body and a slender, elegant form pressed into his side. The silence of his dragon was eerie.
He curled into his dragon's side and sobbed uncontrollably. Toothless bore every tear with a patient gaze, his wing protecting his rider.
When it became Snotlout's turn to train Glosoli and Jonsi, he felt nervous.
Hiccup's kids were different. Glosoli had inherited her father's shyness and awkwardness and Jonsi had inherited his mother's strength and determination. They weren't bad kids, just different, and he felt nervous about training them.
His wife, Ruffnut, had given him a hard time about it when he finally managed to spit out his nervousness. She was right though, he had no reason to be terrified of them. And really, it wasn't exactly them that he was afraid of.
He noticed that the Night Fury had an incredibly apathetic attitude to Astrid. Everyone did. No one dared to say it but they noticed the way that the dragon attached himself to Hiccup and how he refused to pay attention to any other person if it wasn't on Hiccup's request. He wondered how Hiccup managed to communicate with the beast. He had never been able to direct the dragons properly.
When Jonsi had been born, it had been as if Toothless felt compelled to protect the child. Glosoli had turned the dragon into a cunning beast, willing to follow and spy on the children to insure their safety. It was a round the clock job as he was sure that they had inherited their parents reckless flair for danger.
Training them wasn't a matter of appeasing their parents; it was about appeasing Toothless. Even as he stood in the ring, he could see Toothless at the edge of his vision, peering at the scene intelligently, ready to interfere. Hiccup had once told him that dragon's were wary of the ring. The smell of dragon blood could never be washed from the stones. How he found that out was a mystery but regardless, it was the only safe, secure place they had to train.
"Okay, listen up. Today, we're going to learn about how you handle a dragon."
Jonsi, always willing to spread his opinions, raised his hand, "We've been around Toothless all of our life."
He sighed, "Toothless isn't the kind of dragon you'll one day be riding," the kids looked crestfallen but he focused on the other village children as he spoke, "You'll either be on a Deadly Nadder, Monstrous Nightmare, Hideous Zippleback or a Groncke. I wouldn't suggest the Monstrous Nightmare, it tends to give a few burns."
He looked around at the children as he spoke again, "Now… I'm going to bring a Deadly Nadder out. I want you to all be quite, still and to stay away from his tail. Got me?"
They all nodded, peering anxiously at the constraining walls to the side of Snotlout. Walking over to the great lever, he pulled it and flung himself to the side as the doors burst open and a blur of colour slammed through the doors. The children remained still, either from fear or obedience he wasn't sure. He could see Toothless arch his back in a growl at the prancing Nadder who was using his large eyes to look into each crack of the stadium.
"Now, kids, you want to slowly direct the dragons attention towards yourself. I'll show you."
He walked slowly towards the anxious creature. It stopped it's shuffling and peered at him, it's chest rising and falling quickly from the adrenaline. It could smell the old dragon's blood. He approached it again slowly, until only a meter's distance was between his hand and the creature. It leaned forward.
Without warning, Jonsi walked forward. The creature, startled from its calm, roared hoarsely at him. He gasped as he saw the familiar sign of its tail, ready to eject poisonous barbs.
Before he could move, a great black blur moved and the Deadly Nadder was lying on its side, its wings being pressed to the ground by the Night Fury. The dragon roared loudly at the disoriented head of the Nadder, the released barbs only shooting into the sides of the stadium, well away from children.
As a class, they managed to tie the dragon up and shuffle him into the barricade. Toothless grunted as he did so, his tail swishing in a defensive sign.
It wasn't long before Hiccup was running into the stadium, "I heard Toothless. What's wrong? What happened?" His eyes were white with worry, the possibility of both his dragon and children being hurt running through his mind.
Snotlout dragged a hand in front of his nose, "Nothing, thanks to that dragon of yours. Jonsi startled a Deadly Nadder. The damned thing was about to shoot off its barbs, not even a shield in sight. Ydalir help us, we should have prepared for that."
Hiccup breathed deeply, "So no one's hurt?"
"Not this time."
While they were talking, Toothless had come to Hiccup's side, a great rumble echoing in the stadium as his rider scratched his head. When the human and the dragon met each other's gazes, he saw a warmth and connection between them.
"Thanks…. For saving my kids," said Hiccup as he leaned on Toothless, his prosthetic leg throbbing from the harsh chill of winter.
The dragon pressed himself closely to Hiccup's body and nudged the man in the ribs, as if accepting his apology. Despite the size of Toothless and his sudden ferocity, the dragon treated Hiccup with tenderness. Sometimes, when he was suspicious and paranoid, he wondered whether Toothless had chosen Hiccup as a mate. After all, it would explain the dragon's refusal to part from the man, his protection of the children, his apathy towards Astrid. Not to mention the lack of his own mate. Dragons were sociable creatures and he had already seen the spawns of the villages dragons. He wondered why Toothless displayed a complete lack of interest in mating with a female. His thoughts made him uncomfortable.
Snotlout had the strangest feeling that Toothless wasn't protecting the children out of concern, but because they were Hiccup's offspring. Because a little bit of his rider was in each child.
Jonsi was finally a Viking.
It was everything he had ever hoped for. He had loved to sit in the hall and listen to Stoick reminisce about the days when battles were an everyday occurrence, back when the strongest was the greatest. Back when Stoick had been village chief.
His father ruled the town now. He was a sympathetic ruler but Jonsi had seen the way he guided his dragon towards the raiding ships, he had seen the bodies of the drowned. His father used to scare him; he would hide under his bed after the raid and try not to cry. It was only until he was in his fathers arm, being rocked back and forth, that he felt safe.
His mother was strong and he took after her. He was physically large, larger then his father and he tried to do any job that could add to his muscles. His father sometimes spoke of the irony but his mother was always quick to point out whom he had most likely inherited his physique from.
His best friend had always been his grandfather. It had only been in his later life that he talked about his past, about how he treated his son. He felt sad for his father but he could never hate Stoick.
"I can't believe I finally made Viking!" He said as he talked to Stoick.
"Do you remember when I used to ride around on your back and pretend you were a dragon? We'll, I've got my own now. He's a Monstrous Nightmare. Snotlout said that it was a naïve choice, because of the fire thing but he… picked me…" He sighed as he looked at the moon. It was large and full and no clouds obscured it.
"I feel sorry for you… I can't imagine not flying a dragon, I wish you could have felt it. It's like nothing else. Of course, I don't get to the kind of speeds that dad does but.. he's special. Toothless isn't like other dragon's is he? He listens to my father… sometimes I think they talk to each other, you know, like we used to."
He sighed again, willing the gravestone to make some sort of response to him. He had never stopped sharing news with Stoick and death wasn't going to ruin that opportunity. Sometimes, he imagined what Stoick would say to him, how he would respond if he was alive. He always respected Stoick's request to be buried in the ground, away from the release of the burning pyre. Stoick had always been the lifeblood of the village.
He felt childish. He was a man, fully-grown and able to live his own life yet he was talking to a slab of rock.
"Father tells me of how he met Toothless but… why is that he's the only one fully bonded to his dragon? And why doesn't Toothless treat us the same. He isn't aggressive but he never acts around us as he does with father. Is … father special that way?"
"I guess he must be. After all, he was the first dragon rider. I can't imagine the first rider being anything but special. Sometimes… I'm being stupid but sometimes… I wish he would look at Mother like he does at Toothless. I know he loves her, that he adores her… but there's something different about him and Toothless. Did you ever see it? That look?"
He looked up at the moon again and stands in silence. He could feel a rush of gratitude towards Nòtt for providing the languid night.
Turning, Jonsi felt his ears go red at the sight of his father, striding up the path. Toothless isn't with him and it's strange to see him as a single person, without his dragon companion.
"Are you alright?" His father's face is worried and lined but his eyes still shine like a young boy.
"I'm fine… I was just talking to Grandfather."
They are silent for a moment as Hiccup walks to stand beside him. His limp, despite having faded over the years, still makes him lean more then he should. When he's caught his breath from the walk, he places a hand on his sons shoulder, "About today, I'm proud of you son."
Jonsi feels his eyes prickle from welling tears. A secret part of him always wondered whether his father was really and truly proud of him.
"When I was a child, my father didn't accept me. There was a running joke in the village that when someone told me to change my ways, they wouldn't gesture to my hair or my arms, they'd gesture to everything. I never fitted in. All I ever wanted was for my father to love me, regardless of my faults. I don't think I ever stopped wanting that. Even now, I wonder if he's proud."
He's looking at his father now, a new respect for him welling up. It's always special for him to see his parents in a human light, not as caregivers.
His father takes a breath before continuing, "The point is, regardless of what you choose, I'm always proud of you. It took a dragon for me to come into my own. When you find that thing that makes you proud to be you, hold onto it until your last breath."
His father's words begin to resolve a curiosity he always had. He can see why his father is so close to his dragon. Before then, he had never had someone love him for everything, regardless of his faults. He had never had anything stand by him, despite how dangerous or pressured the situation may be. He knows that his mother scorned him and despite his love for her, he feels slightly angry at that thought. At her addition to his misery.
"Thanks dad," his thanks are genuine and he hopes that his father sees his sincerity.
A black shadow falls over the pair before heading to the sea. Njöròr had been good to his village for years and the sea had remained blessedly peaceful. He sighed at the sight of Toothless flying in front of the pale face of the moon. The dragon let out an echoing sound which made Hiccup sigh.
"I guess that's me. I'll see you back at the house?"
"Wait, I want to ask something."
"What is it, son?"
"Why are you so close to Toothless? Why can't I get that close to a dragon."
His fathers face is pensieve and curious, "I don't know. I don't know what would happen if another Night Fury had a rider. I just… we both saw a creature that needed and we gave that to each other."
His father turns, his eyes shining with emotion before walking into the thick, dark tree line of the forest.
The shadow of Toothless passed overhead.
Wars pass their village by and before long, Hiccup has become an elder.
He's revered and the children stare at his prosthetic leg and open their mouths in awe. He is still slight and small but his hair is a brilliant grey and his eyes still shine with a boyish charm. He doesn't talk much anymore, his words have all but been drained from him.
Most curious is his dragon. He's proud and tall and sits patiently beside his rider. They haven't taken to the sky in months, Hiccup's arthritis flares in the winter and causes him to bite his lip with pain. Despite the many years that have passed, his dragon is still agile and youthful. He doesn't know how long that a dragon lives but as he sees Toothless mature, he wonders if he's even reached adulthood yet.
When he walks, his dragons allows him to lean on his large form. The children try to jump on the dragons swinging tail and retreat when a threatening growl warns them. He's helping precious cargo.
His wife is dying and each day, he fetches flowers from the forest for her bedside. His son has offered to do it for him, even his grandson. Until his beautiful Astrid departs from the earth, he wishes to show her his love.
Toothless is respectful of the old woman. While not close, he has a fondness for her strong nature and the way she would leave him warm milk. He stays close to his rider and the woman, he can smell the scent of death on them and it both terrifies and enthrals him.
Being an elder, he watches over the new training of boys and girls in their quests to become dragon riders. They stare at him in awe as he sits outside the arena, Toothless occasionally nuzzling his side and laying his head in his lap. They have heard the stories of Hiccup and the Night Fury but it's hard to associate the old man with the daring young hero. Only a few have heard him talk and even fewer have seen him fly.
He picks a daisy and smells it. It's fresh and beautiful, everything that Astrid is. It takes him an hour to hobble through the undergrowth and retrieve the perfect flowers. Toothless climbs the trees and dangles from its limbs, eliciting a smile from his tired friend. Sometimes, he'll disappear for a few minutes into the sky, only to return with a rare flower clasped in his mouth.
The affection he holds for Toothless increases each day. He knows that he is old and feeble and that the dragon has nothing but friendship keeping him in the village. He often wonders why the noble creature has stayed with him so long, why he never found a mate of his own and continued on his line. Sometimes, the thought of the dragon's loyalty makes him feel uncomfortable. He feels like he hasn't sacrificed enough.
As if understanding his thoughts, Toothless wraps his lithe body around him, his head nuzzling his stomach. He strokes the dragon's head affectionately and he doesn't even need to talk. He makes sure to correct the children when they refer to dragon's as pets. He learned a long time ago that a dragon is a friend, a companion. You need to respect their moods, their abilities and their freedom.
He hobbles up the slope to the village again. His prosthetic groans and he laughs because he feels like the groans of his body are singing together. Toothless makes a rumbling in the back of his throat and he puts a hand of the thick back of the beast to steady his gait. He's never seen another Night Fury but he imagines that Toothless is the most beautiful of all. His body is long and slim and his eyes intelligent and expressive. He's never had to question his ability to understand the dragon, he's always just known.
Glosoli is walking towards him, a smile on her face as she sees his lumbering walk, "Well, father, what flowers have you got this time?"
She's older now and the lines around her eyes are deep. She's still beautiful and he feels a welling in pride at seeing her. She never married but he always respected her decision to remain a spinster. When she was thirty, she adopted a village orphan whose father died in a raid and whose mother died in childbirth. It's a happy, if unconventional family, although his is just as strange.
Toothless doesn't move from his position and she stands on the other side of Hiccup, helping him balance. He doesn't feel ashamed to be helped, he's old and tired and it's nice to have children with manners.
She smiles at his flowers, "She's going to love them."
He nods and smiles happily.
"Father… I've been meaning to ask. I wish I could say this easier but… when mother passes, I don't like the idea of you alone."
He looks at Toothless and she continues, "I know, you have Toothless but… I'd like humans around you. Would you move in with me? I could take the floor and you could have my bedroom."
He sniffs and stops walking to think. Toothless rumbles deep in his chest, his tone rising in pitch. He knows that Toothless is trying to say, that if he moved, he'd been leaving behind a home filled with memories and love. A home that has a den for his dragon and a roaring fire that feeds the village children after training in the arena. He understands Glosoli and her fear but he yearns for his house, his shelter.
"Would you move in with me?" He says and his voice is harsh and rough from disuse.
"I-I guess. Would that be alright? I don't want to impose."
"You are always welcome," says Hiccup and he means it. He loves his children and he wished he could see Jonsi more often. His son is independent, the leader for the raids. His wife is beautiful and freethinking, if stubborn.
"And Àgætis, he could come too?" She asks hesitantly.
"I welcome all of my grandchildren," and she is beaming because she has never been sure if her adopted child was welcomed. She had never been sure if they loved him as she did.
They walk in silence for a while longer, "Father… will you be alright?"
He nods and he thinks that he will. He lived and loved Astrid for her entire life. They fought occasionally but he never doubted the strength of their love. They had children together and held their grandchildren together.
"I think I will."
When his wife dies, slow and peacefully, surrounded by her friends and family, she smiles one last time at Hiccup before the light fades from her eyes. Toothless croons softly, a small part of him not understanding what had happened. Hiccup cries but his tears aren't sobs; they are simply tears. He will meet her again so he feels slightly anxious with anticipation at the meeting. He'll be young and she'll be young and they'll sit atop a pillar and watch the sunset as they did all those years ago.
When he's lying in bed and the reality of her loss hits him, he feels a large shape step onto the bed he once shared with Astrid. Toothless nuzzles into his neck and his voice is low and calm. He mesmerizes each line of the dragons face before he sleeps, marvelling at the strange bond they share.
When he wakes up, expecting to be miserable, he feels Toothless's tail resting on him and he wonders how such a ferocious creature could be so gentle. When he hobbles into the hall and greets a red-eyed Glosoli, he smiles at the thought at she watches him. Toothless follows him to his chair and looks up at him with knowing eyes.
Glosoli is struck but how otherworldly her father seems.
When Hiccup dies, he becomes a legend.
He's been bedridden for months. His back aches continually and his joints groan with the weight of his body. He tries not to show his pain but he's often sleeping to relieve himself of its ache.
His son is chief and his family is large and energetic. He's older and maturer and he holds even his own father in a worshipped light. Glosoli brings him his food and sits by his bed. He is appreciative of such a warm daughter and smiles at Àgætis as he recounts his days. He's an apprenticed mason and his fingers are able to carve from stone the images of the gods. His mother sees him as a gift from god; Àgætis just thinks its fun.
Toothless sits beside him for most of the day. Sometimes, when his hand is on his head and he drifts to sleep, he dreams that he is flying again and when he wakes, his eyes fill with tears. Toothless looks at him with his intelligent eyes and he doesn't question the dreams.
The day before he dies, he finds it hard to breath.
Toothless's ears stand at attention when the hitch in his breath first starts and his short roar brings Glosoli crashing into the room. She looks anxious and worried and within the next few hours, his family has gathered around him. Jonsi looks worried and holds his sisters hand. His grandchildren are quiet and stare at him and his dragon. Although dragons are common, Night Fury is still rare and unique, as well as their bond.
In the early hours of the morning, when the children are in bed and it is just him and Toothless, he feels the press of something urgent within him. He feels that he is ready, that it is his time. When he feels it, Toothless looks up and croons softly. He's worried and he scared because for a lifetime, the dragon has been by Hiccup's side.
For the last time, he allows Toothless to place his noble head on his chest as he strokes the creatures brow. It's silent and he feels peaceful and when he looks into the creatures eyes, he sees a depth of love and devotion and acceptance. He tries to communicate the same look back.
He rests his head on the pillow and closes his eyes. When the pain fades, his heart stops beating.
Toothless doesn't move until Glosoli and Jonsi barrel into the room, their eyes bloodshot from a night of little to no sleep. Jonsi cries silently while Glosoli sobs.
Toothless just stares at his rider.
When the years pass and Hiccup's legacy is told by the fires and in training, the legend of the Night Fury begins.
He only returns at the most pressing times, the sound of his body hurtling to earth resounds in the villager's ears and they cheer at the sight of a blue flame igniting a raiding long boat. He is gone in an instant but his presence remains, in the hearts of all warriors who lift their axes in victory.
It is said that when Hiccup died, they laid his body in a funeral pyre and burned it at sea. When his ashes were lifted by the wind, they say that he was lifted to the skies, where his heart had always belonged. At twilight, parents point to the spot where the pyre sank into the water and tell their children that every few years, a black silhouette will be seen above its waters and the roar of a strange dragon will rise to the village.
On bright nights, it's even said that you can see his form against the pale moon skies. The children ask why he still rides the currents and the parent's shake their heads in wonder.
They all know that he's waiting to join his rider.
There's so much travel
And now that I'm older
Someone else, can see it for myself
So much travel, yeah
Now that I'm older
AN: I really hope you enjoyed this. I find HTTYD quite bittersweet and I wanted to communicate that in the fic.
Glosoli and Jonsi are references to Sigur Ros, a great band. Jonsi, the lead singer of Sigur Ros actually sang music for HTTYD so I thought it fitting to use him in this. Glosoli means shining sun, a name that I thought fitted the character.
Please review. I'd love to hear your thoughts about this!