Hiccup thought that if he held his hand up just an inch away from his face, he still wouldn't be able to see it. He'd probably test that theory out too, but for some reason his hand didn't want to move.

Actually, his entire body didn't seem to want to move, but it wasn't really alarming for some reason. The heaviness in him was more like a completely comfortable but exhausted feeling he'd get when he'd just struggled through countless flying tests with Toothless and didn't want to get back up the next morning. Curled up under warm blankets and not knowing how high up the sun was in the sky. Just a little bit longer, he thought. He decided to just accept the motionless and be still in the comfortable darkness.

It was a nice darkness...there was life in it. He could feel his breath, and yet there was breath all around him. It was like an embrace that surrounded him.

And suddenly he was pulling up a half-buried memory of when he was young - very, very young. So young that he supposed he was lucky to remember it at all. So young that his hands were still chubby baby hands and his father's voice seemed to come from everywhere when he talked.

And his mom was dead. Somehow he just knew that. Maybe because his dad was hugging him, sincere and warm and exceedingly careful. Maybe because his dad's voice had this weird hitch in it that somehow just told him that someone had died, and something in his heart just told him that it was his mom, and even though he couldn't talk, that heartbeat hidden away in his dad's chest was thumping closer than ever.

That heartbeat explained everything.

And Hiccup could hear a heartbeat now. A deep one...a different one that enveloped him in a way that couldn't have made it his father's. Hopefully, almost hauntingly, he found himself wondering if it was his mothers. Maybe where ever he was - the land of 'nice darkness' - this was where she lived and this, this - the exhaustion and the comfortable blackness - this was her hugging him. Maybe...Hiccup couldn't find the will to argue much, because for all he knew people went to place like this when they died: a heartbeat room. And maybe their heartbeat sounded deep and different and everywhere because they were everywhere. Maybe that's what it was like to be dead.

If so, it wasn't that bad, really. Hiccup felt like he could just lay here forever. Lay here and listen to the rise and fall, feel it around him, the safeness. There were noises too, but whatever they were, they seemed to be coming from miles and miles away, almost like the remnants of an echo were just barely reaching him. He almost wanted to say something back, but with his body so heavy and unimportant feeling, the only thing he could think to do was just concentrate on the heartbeat.

It seemed to talk to him, the way his father's heartbeat had talked to him. But now, it wasn't broken and raw the way his father's had been then. It wasn't whispering death or trying to reach out for comfort. It was ragged, but at the same time it was strong. Hurt, but unafraid. 'I have you, you're safe' it seemed to say. And floating motionless in the heartbeat room, Hiccup found himself thinking of Toothless. He didn't know where his friend was right now, or what had happened before he had somehow ended up here. But suddenly, he was thinking of Toothless, and his own softer, strangely weaker heartbeat and pushing back a question.

'Toothless...?' Just the name, that was all he his mind could seem to manage. 'Toothless...?'

'I have you, I'll protect you.' the heartbeat seemed to say again. And suddenly, that felt okay to him. Everything felt okay with him. Part of him just knew it, the same way he had just known that his mother was gone when he listened to his father's heartbeat long ago.

Everything would be okay. Toothless was going to be okay. He was going to be okay, too.

The heartbeat room felt like arms around him. And somehow, that made more sense than anything.