a/n: i love this movie way too much.

.for everything else.

My happiness was short lived, especially when I saw the wound.

Bright red, open, garish, ugly. I'd seen the wooden stump Gobber called a leg millions of times, but had never given any sort of thought to what it looked like before the healers stitched and sewed. Stoick's smile seemed to die on his face as well—he struggled to his feet, Hiccup in his arms, limp and flaccid like the grass around Berk after a particularly nasty storm. I watched the blood drip slowly onto the ash, leaving big black marks in its wake. Toothless seemed to sense the discomfiture. Looking a thousand years old, he heaved himself to his feet, nudging Hiccup's apparently lifeless hand.

(Wake up, wake up, wake up-)

"We 'ave to get 'im back quickly, Stoick," Gobber was saying quietly.

"How? Half the ships are destroyed. Without the wind, it could take days just to find our way out of this cursed fog."

Did the chief notice the blood that was gathering in a pool around his feet? Toothless did. He was avoiding it with a passion.

(Stop the red, stop the hurt, wake up, wake up-)

It seemed to me incredibly unfair. Unfair that we should think Hiccup would be fine, even for a moment, because he could still die, right now, when I have left so many things unsaid and so many things that shouldn't have ever been said still hung heavy in the air between us—

"Bandage!" Stoick roared, but nobody seemed to move fast enough for him. He handed Hiccup gently to Gobber, and proceeded to rip the bottom of his tunic. With that was complete he wrapped the green fabric, thick and sturdy like everything on Berk, expertly, tightly, around the gash, tying it off with a knot. I got the feeling he had done this before, and I shivered. This was to be my life? Watching my friends get hurt? Watching them die?

"We don't have time to waste," Stoick looked sadly down at Toothless, who uttered a single, mournful cry, low and guttural, which was picked up by the other dragons, a cacophony rising wildly above the ash and dust of the island.


"The ships are too slow, there's no way—"

-dragons. Dragons. Of course. The answer was obvious.

"The dragons!" I yelled, heart racing as I peered for blood through Hiccup's newly wrapped bandage. "The dragons," I took a few steps forward, slipping on the rocky stones coated with ash, "I can take Hiccup back on my Nadder; we'll get there in a third of the time."

"No. I'm not letting my son out of my sight." Stoick looked fierce in the half-light and I stepped back. In that moment he was ferocious and large and powerful, which was nothing at all like Hiccup's quiet determination.

"She's got a point, Stoick," Gobber was eyeing Hiccup's leg also. "Believe me, that's a nasty wound. It needs treating now."

Toothless nudged the chief in the back and stepped slowly over towards me, sitting down in the ash and sending up a cloud of grey dust. I gingerly placed my hand on his side, feeling the scales, cool and smooth, beneath me; the great rumble of his breath permeated the silent air. I looked at his eye, the one I could see, watched it meet mine with quiet intensity. He was scared, for this boy he had already saved from certain death.

(You save him. He trusted you, so I will too. Save him.)

"Let me take him back," I tried again.

"I'm sorry," I stood in front of Toothless by the boats, his eyes that unnerving shade of blue-green, "but you can't come, not with your tail like that. He'll be fine, I promise. You saved me back there—now, I'm going to save him." I gulped, looking back towards where Stoick was securing his son on my Nadder. "I promise." I repeated.

He nudged me in the chest, once, quickly, like an unspoken threat.

(You don't get him back safely and I'll never forgive you.)

He then disappeared amongst the crowds of Vikings, presumably towards the ships. I hurried towards my Nadder, feeling exhausted and worn, like I was one of the stretched hides we cured for leather or blankets.

"He's all tied up," Stoick rubbed his beard, his eyes, his face—he looked weary. Old. Ancient, like Toothless had seemed earlier. "Get the healer, but have him treated at home." With that he walked off towards the ships. He was not one to be sentimental. I got the feeling that if he stayed by Hiccup any longer he might lose it. I stopped only for a moment, watching his broad retreating form, before I swung easily onto the back of the Deadly Nadder, who was as jumpy as ever.

"You're a true Viking, Astrid." Gobber's words were the last I heard as I urged the dragon upwards into the cloudy, soot-streaked sky. Hiccup slipped sideways but the rope held firm, and I let go for an instant to push him back upright. He fell back against me, and I could just make out his quick, faint breaths. I felt old. Ancient. Worried. My eyes were wide as I took in the surroundings—nothing but white, thick fog for miles.

I didn't hear the others until they were right on me. I was definitely off my game.

"Like we'd let you go alone." Snotlout was trying to look impressive atop his Monstrous Nightmare, while beside him Fishlegs struggled to keep his Gronckle steady. Ruffnut and Tuffnut were to my right, brushing wings with my Naddar and arguing.

"I can get him back to Berk faster."

"We're riding the same dragon, stupid, we'll get him back at the same time."

"Not if I knock you off the dragon."

"So Astrid, about coming by to work out," Snotlout began.

"I wonder, do you think the Green Death had jaw strength forty?" Fishlegs asked.

Here were my friends, normal, strong, giving no indication that Hiccup would do anything but survive. I heard a groan, then. It took me a minute to realize that it came from boy in front of me. I leaned forward.

"Fly." I whispered.

When he came out of his home, full and whole and good, metal leg and all, I wanted to punch him. So I did.

"Is our relationship always going to be like this?" He questioned, and I wanted to hit him again, except I wanted to kiss him more, so I did—

"Cause I could get used to this." He mumbled happily, and I smiled, whispering, "And that's for everything else."