Sequel to Dawn, Solaris and Eve. You can read this as a standalone but I highly recommend reading the first two for the full effect.

Well, here we are! The final installment of Horizons! But does this mean the end? Not necessarily.

I've already started a multi-chapter sequel to this story however, I won't bother posting it on FF if you guys don't want to read it. So let me know via review or message if you liked this installment and if you'd like to see a sequel or if there's anything else you would really like to see. I'm really open to suggestions and advice and I'd love to hear from you! Should I get enough positive feedback, I'll post an AN on Aurora with thanks about a week from now with an approximate post date for Horizons and maybe even a sneak peak if you ask for it.

So please, review and let me know! The process of writing these four shorts has been amazing and I thank you for making that possible!

Here we go!

His arms were wrapped around her side, his fingers finding warmth beneath the worn hem of her cotton tunic. His head was resting gently on her shoulder, his eyes half lidded as he fought to keep himself awake. But he was smiling widely despite himself, his lips never tiring. He was happy to have the treasured company; he had awakened that very morning and the surprise waiting for him had been more than welcome.

She had watched him carefully throughout the celebratory feast, thrown together quickly in the young rider's honour. His eyes were brightened by the fires of the hearth, their emerald depths alive in a way she had not seen since he had disappeared into the clouds so many days ago. He ate sparingly, his stomach still not used to digesting solid foods and despite the copious amounts of mead served to him, he only wet his lips. Part way through the evening she slipped him a bowl of stew; he smiled jadedly, his gratitude reaching his eyes as he sipped the broth directly from the bowl.

The music and the dancing continued long into the night and by the way the boy's eyes were darting left and right she knew it wouldn't be long before he made his great escape. She followed him as he slipped into the shadows of the hall and disappeared into the night, eager to catch up with him before he did something unequivocally stupid.

Leaving the bedlam behind her, she slipped from the side door and out in the relative quiet of the square. She found him at the far end of the clearing, his unremitting crutch bent faithfully at his side. He was scratching the delighted dragon fondly, his fingers finding that blissful spot beneath his ear plates that he knew Toothless loved so much. Astrid smiled at the sight and ventured closer to the seamless pair, making sure her steps were heard so that she didn't startle them.

"Astrid!" Unsurprisingly, she had frightened him anyway, "What…I…uh…"

She smirked, taking pleasure in the effect she had on him, "I was about to ask you the same question."

"I…" he blushed and turned away, shifting his weight off of his prosthetic, "Things have err…changed now I guess."

"If you mean the whole village has changed, then yes," she gestured all around at the many dragons that were stalking the area, watching the pair closely with their clever eyes, "It's been one crazy transition, I'll be the first to admit."

Hiccup nodded, taking his lower lip between his teeth, "Seventeen days huh?"

"Yeah," she said, stepping closer so that their shoulders brushed, "Most of us thought you weren't going to make it."

"Did you?"

She shrugged, motioning towards the coast with her hand as she enticed him to follow her towards the docks, "You stopped breathing a few times right near the end…but somehow that heart of yours kept beating, although I can't imagine why," she pursed her lips, "But you scared the living hel out of me, I hope you know."

His lips turned upwards into a lazy, crooked smile, "Trust me, I know. I've got a bruise forming on my shoulder that reminds me of you every time I move."

"Good!" Astrid laughed as they neared the ledge that looked out towards the horizon, the millions of stars now hanging brightly in the sky. Their only light was the green and purple blaze that was painted wildly across the heavens, the flush of dyes wavering zealously in all their splendour. Splashes of blue and pink raced across the canvas of colours, casting an almost unearthly glow on the young couple as they sat down side by side against the rocks.

Hiccup's voice broke the silence, "What happened after we…killed the dragon?"

Astrid's voice hitched in her throat and her heart willed her to think before she answered him, "A lot of smoke. A lot of fire."

Hiccup glanced sidelong at the girl, her face illuminated with brightly coloured light, "That's not what I'm asking," he sighed, wringing his fingers in his palms, "I should be dead right now, shouldn't I."

"Yeah, you probably should be," she replied flatly, "You'd be a pile of ash if it hadn't been for your shadow." Hiccup raised an eyebrow, not understanding, "He caught you as you fell you know, wrapping you up in his wings," she took a deep breath, "We found you there, in the middle of it and…I…and then your leg…"

Hiccup didn't prompt her for the rest, wrapping his arm around her waist instead. He toyed with the hem of her shirt and pressed the pads of his fingers against her skin, gradually resting his head upon her shoulder. His smile grew wider and wider as they sat in the view of the gods themselves, their shamelessness obvious as they took in each other's company. Astrid's lips began to match the joy on her companion's features as the aurora borealis raged on, staining their faces with light.

"Promise me you'll never do that again. Promise me you won't ever die."

Hiccup made no effort to hide it surprise, "What? You know I can't do that. We're Vikings. It's what we do."

But Astrid wasn't satisfied with his reply, "Just promise me you won't do that to me again. Please."

The look in her eyes was terrifying; he was caught up in the intensity of her gaze, her eyes shining with the tears that were never meant to be shed. She turned away and glared upwards at the gods, trying to blink them back as she inwardly cursed them for her weaknesses. The last thing she expected were the fingers brushing her hair back behind her ears, beckoning her with a gentleness she had yet to feel as she turned back to him, her destructor.

She finally gave into his urgent fingers and kept her eyes closed as she turned, unwilling to let him see her failing heart. But he found a way in anyway, smiling at her in a way that both enticed her and terrified her.

She kissed him with a ferocity she had never known, one that was made of passion and pain instead of perseverance. She grasped the nape of his neck and held onto him like he was the only thing left in the world while her heart raced wildly in her chest, her mind a flurry of unkempt emotions. His hand came up to touch her cheek, brushing back the errant strands of hair that always seemed to fall in her eyes and the other encased her back in his embrace, drawing her nearer to him than he had ever before. He smiled against her lips and gently pulled away, meeting her eyes before losing himself in them entirely. He pressed their brows together and buried his fingers in her golden hair, smiling broadly all the while.

"I promise."

Thanks guys! But before you go, I'd like to ask of you a quick request - which one of these shorts were your favourite? Knowing your opinion would really help me out!


Love and fluff,