So, I watched HTTYD four times in a row today. The entire time, I was telling myself not to write a fanfiction, but I finally gave in and tapped out this oneshot. It's basically my opinion of what life would be like for Hiccup and Astrid in the future. I looked online and found that Hiccup and Astrid were thirteen during the movie, so that's what I'm going with.
It was a rare day in Berk that the villagers were able to shed their heavy furs, kick off their steel-toe boots, and enjoy the weak but warm sunshine on their backs. The temperature rarely rose high enough. That was mostly why Hiccup suggested flying.
I was washing my face in a water basin after a particularly hard training session with the newer vikings. Though the title was unofficial, I was the unspoken leader of our group, and the responsibility of keeping them in shape was mostly mine. Since our normally small village was suddenly expanding faster than we could fill it, Gobber was busy in the blacksmith shop, and training duties were handed to me. My hair was sweaty, so I pulled out the braid, gave it a quick wash, and began plaiting it again.
That was when I heard his quiet footsteps behind me. While he'd definitely improved, my fighting instincts were still ten times better. The slight creak of the spring in his prosthetic gave him away. I didn't let on that I noticed him, though.
With a rather loud pounce, I was grabbed from behind, and a familiar hand pressed against my mouth. "Don't scream!" Hiccup whispered, trying (and failing) to play the part of the menacing kidnapper.
I pulled his hand away and answered in similar hushed tones, "Hiccup, what are you doing?" He smelled like fish- my guess was he'd been with the dragons.
"Hiding. What are you doing?" Over my shoulder, his head looked either way for witnesses. We shuffled out of sight between two large boulders.
"Cleaning up. Your adoring fans becoming too much?" I teased, turning around to face him. It was no secret that Hiccup's role as Village Hero overwhelmed him at times.
"Psh." He rolled his eyes and waved the suggestion away. "Can never have too large a legion of admirers." After a playful shove, he admitted that some of the village mothers wanted him to take their little ones out flying.
I laughed. "Toothless not excited?"
"You could say that." Hiccup's cheeks puffed out as he exhaled loudly and shook his head. "I'm pretty sure he's hiding too."
"Well, how long you think you can stay missing?" I asked, folding my arms and leaning against the large rock.
He grinned. "I was hoping a couple hours. You, me, a couple of dragons, and a big open sky? It's too nice of a day to resist."
I looked up at the sky myself. The dark gray gloom of potential snow and hail was missing, and a couple of lazy clouds floated aimlessly above our heads. "Okay, but when you track down Toothless, could you ask him if he could carry two? My dragon caught a thorn in his wing yesterday." It was a lie, and he probably knew it. I loved my Nadder dearly, but he tended to find trouble when left unoccupied for long.
"Alright, I'll meet you by the caves." He looked both ways before darting out from between the boulders. His fingertips skimmed across my stomach as he left.
We'd managed to sneak away just in time; I could hear someone calling Hiccup's name as we took off. There were some dark clouds coming in from the east, so we headed west, into as much sunshine as possible. Sometimes Hiccup had a specific destination in mind, but today he let Toothless lead instead. After a flight so long my legs began to cramp, the night fury settled on a grassy cliff, shaking me and Hiccup out of the saddle so he could roll around in the long blades of grass. A citrusy smell rose as stalks broke beneath him.
Hiccup immediately laid out on the ground, stretching out his legs and folding his arms behind his head. The sunshine in his hair made his messy brown locks look almost bronze. It was hard to believe he was once the scrawny, exasperating boy of years ago. The attachment where his calf and foot should have been was the only proof.
I stretched out on the grass next to him, resting my head on my hand so I could watch him. Several years of work in the caves and fishing boats- and a couple of incredible growth spurts- left him filled out and broad across the shoulders. He wasn't buff or incredibly muscled like Snotlout- never would be. But he caught up and surpassed Tuffnut in both height and muscle mass by the time he was sixteen. His was a lean, lithe strength, which was okay with me. I never liked bulk anyways.
My gaze drifted from his closed eyes to his crossed legs, to the prosthetic he'd eventually grown used to. After our showdown with the Red Death, he gave the appearance that it was a quick transition, that he was okay without his foot. Toothless and I were the only ones who truly knew how much he struggled.
I frowned as I remembered the night he limped all the way to my house, tapping on my window and crawling weakly inside. At the time, I was terrified. I didn't understand why he was grimacing and sweaty with pain. He had to explain to me through gritted teeth that sometimes it felt as if his leg was whole again, and it was always excruciatingly painful, as if it were being amputated all over again. Toothless whined worriedly outside my window the entire night, especially when Hiccup would wake up suddenly with a startled cry of pain. I let him stay in bed with me until dawn, let him squeeze my arm when he was hurting, and when he finally fell into a steady slumber, he slept like the dead.
Just a few weeks after that, we were flying together to get lumber from a forest a few miles away. It was raining hard, and the droplets felt like ice as they pelted my skin. Suddenly, Hiccup and Toothless disappeared from my peripheral, and I caught sight of them plummeting towards the trees. My dragon and I darted after them, and they regained flight after just a few minor collisions, but Toothless landed anyways. By the time I gained ground as well, Hiccup was sitting on the wet forest floor, swearing loudly as he tried to tear his prosthetic off.
I watched with wide eyes as he threw the contraption into the dark of the woods. He used his arms to help him stand up and staggered through the trees, shouting and tripping over himself. Toothless followed, trying to give him a crutch, but Hiccup pushed him away. I couldn't be sure because of the heavy rain, but the thickness of his voice sounded like he was crying.
Stunned as I was by such an outburst from such an easy-going boy (we weren't much older than fourteen at the time), I couldn't find anything to say and instead went searching for the discarded prosthetic. By the time I recovered it, the rain had lightened, and Hiccup's swearing had quieted.
I found Hiccup on the ground, leaning against an old conifer. His head was in his hands, and Toothless was curled up next to him, trying to ignore my own dragon's playfulness nearby.
"Hiccup?" I called, feeling uncomfortable witnessing his grief. "What happened?"
He lifted his head from his hands, but it was dark, so I couldn't tell if he was looking at me or the ground. "I fell," he answered flatly.
"Off of Toothless?" I stepped closer so I could see him better.
"No. Onto the ground." He sat up straighter and fiddled with his dragon's saddle. "I broke it."
Unsure of how to handle his sudden distress, I looked over the prosthetic. "It looks fine to me."
"No, the stirrup." The sound of metal clinking against metal made its way to my ears. "The rain made it slick. My... foot... it slipped. Broke the pulley system."
I looked at Hiccup, son of Stoick the Vast, hero of Berk, sprawled out on the forest floor so defeated. Before I could stifle the word, it slipped out. "So?"
His head snapped up, and regret twinged in my stomach, but I continued. "I bet you didn't get those pulley things right the first time. I bet a lot of them broke." When he didn't reply, I dropped down to the ground and tried to make eye contact. "Right?"
"It's not the pulley's fault," he said, taking his pseudo-limb from me. "It's this stupid thing."
"What does it matter?" I replied, hating seeing him so pessimistic. "You destroyed the Red Death almost single-handedly, created a machine from scratch that keeps a night fury flying, and stood up to the entire village with your hand at a dragon's teeth. You never let the little failures bring you down then."
"You don't understand, Astrid." He strapped the prosthetic back on with disdain. "I can't run anymore. I can't climb. I can't sleep some nights because I'm haunted by these phantom pains. Everything's different now."
What could I say to that? I could remember the days when I used to hope a dragon would maul me and leave me with some physical evidence of my bravery. It didn't seem right to tell him that his grief was unwarranted, but this wasn't the Hiccup I knew.
"Just because it's different," I began slowly, feeling the words as they formed in my mouth. "Doesn't mean you can't make something out of it. I'm sure that stirrup could have broken even if you still had your real foot. The Hiccup I know would just find a way to make it stronger."
He was quiet for a long time. I was debating leaving him to think over what I said, when he finally spoke up. "Thanks, Astrid."
After we returned to Berk that night, Hiccup immediately retreated to the blacksmith shop. The next morning, he reappeared with a shiny new stirrup and a modified prosthetic. He kept that same basic design for many years later, making minor adjustments as needed. The one he wore now, in the field with me and Toothless, he could run with. Given, he couldn't run very fast, but it satisfied him. His limp was gone.
Toothless gurgled with glee as he bounded through the tall grass, and Hiccup reached out his arms in a stretch. He grew up from that quirky boy into a mature adult before I realized it, and sometimes I felt like we were younger again, innocent and carefree. That's what this moment felt like. No tribal meetings in the great hall to steal him away, no adoring villagers to demand his attention. It was so rare that I had him to myself, and I was cherishing every second.
I shifted closer to my viking prince, taking in his deep, heady scent. As I closed my eyes and rested my head on his chest, I remembered a conversation we'd had about falling once.
I was telling him about when I almost fell to my death during our battle with the Red Death. And he was telling me about a time early in his friendship with Toothless, when his harness became detached mid-flight. I remember describing the feeling of terror when I suddenly realized my Nadder was no longer keeping me in the air, the scraping of air through my throat as I screamed, the panicked flailing of my limbs as they tried to regain steady ground. The relief that flooded through my shaking body when Toothless caught me and set me on the beach was nearly overwhelming.
Falling from the sky was different from falling in love with Hiccup. It almost felt as if I was falling up, more like flying actually. So many years later, and I still got that rush of excitement when he was near.
I looked up at his relaxed face and brushed my lips across his. His eyes blinked open, and he grinned that lazy grin I loved. "What was that for?" he asked.
"Kidnapping me," I replied, kissing him again.
"That's for everything else."