A Death in the Family
Pairings: Astrid/Hiccup, Hiccup/Toothless[Friendship]
Warnings: Death, destruction, depressing and angsty writing
Disclaimer: I do not own anything in relation to the movie or the song lyrics.
Summary: A worst case scenario story. A dragon is a deadly creature and the consequences of his rage can be fatal. Astrid/Hiccup
AN: I had an interesting thought about the very worst case scenario of HTTYD. I thought of how interesting it would be to write a story that wasn't immensely happy, that didn't end in a kiss and hug. I really wanted to immerse myself in a situation that could happen, a situation that in the Viking world, was quite likely to happen. So warnings, this is not a happy story! However, I do hope you enjoy it and find it quite believable. That is at least the challenge, to make the worst case scenario believable.
I'm sitting with you
Sitting in silence
Let's sing into the years, like one
Singing in tune, together
A psalm for no one
Let's sing in tune
But now it's home
After a while, Hiccup forgets that Toothless is a wild animal.
He has created a life with the dragon, a life that is full of affection and trust. He spends countless hours beside his side, simply revelling in the sleek body and powerful limbs of his friend. There is a mutual understanding between them, a language without words, a shared thought pattern. They know each other, down to the very tip of the dragon's tail and the metal sole of his prosthetic heel.
Toothless becomes a routine part of life, for both Hiccup and the village. His protective and domineering manner, although reluctantly, finally reduces around Astrid. He allows Hiccup to touch the girl, to hold her hand, to kiss her. He doesn't understand the privacy that they crave at first, but he understands what a closed door means and the flush of pale cheeks. It never seems to occur to Hiccup that Toothless is an animal and that he breeds like humans. After all, he's never seen another Night Fury so he has no reason to believe that he has a mate.
Life continues, albeit blindly, as it did before. They forge alliances with other villages and attack those that threaten them. The create rules for the dragons, and a no feeding policy. They separate the sheep in great barns at night and punish a sneaky reptile with apathy when he burns a roof. They bury the skulls of ancient dragons that litter the village and use the enhanced senses of the creatures for hunting and fighting.
Even when the occasional territorial match occurs between warring dragons, Toothless seems above such acts. He often separates the two attackers, snarling with slanted eyes and curling tendrils of smoke that emits from his nostrils. Even in such moments, Hiccup never feels fear towards his friend but a sense of pride.
When he is on a patrol, an excuse to stretch his legs and escape the village, Toothless uses his wing as shelter for the night. They sleep besides each other, under the stars, and Toothless's body emits a warmth that no fire could replicate. Hiccup has no reason to be afraid, especially when he's flying through the air and his heart feels like it might burst from the pride and happiness it feels. He knows that his change of life; his girlfriend, his father's love and the town's acceptance of him, is all the result of his friend. He knows that the simple, beautiful dragon opened up a life to him that may never have been in his grasp.
So when it happens, the contrast between their lives before elevates the issue.
Toothless, like any other being, has his moments. He is not an entirely joyous creature as his bouts of anger and moodiness can overwhelm his large form. He is usually alone at such moments, isolated from the fragile human bodies which swarm throughout the village. He craves the sky and the feeling of freedom.
Like other dragons, a powerful emotion can take over and fill his body with its passion. His fierceness in battle is a result of that focused rage and need for destruction. He has a wild streak in his blood that calls to him at such moments, fuelling those forbidden emotions.
Hiccup doesn't understand what has happened at first.
It is a day like most others, chilly but pleasant in the summer season of Berk. The village is preparing for a raid so tensions are high and stress levels have doubled. The dragons, so susceptible to the moods of other creatures, feel this wave of negativity and it sets their shackles on edge. They rumble and snarl at each other, some disappearing into the sky without a backwards glance.
Toothless can't escape from the ground so he prowls around Hiccup with a possessive, irritated manner. He knows that they will be taking off soon but the waiting causes his anger to swell because he wishes to go now and unleash his fury on an unsuspecting village. Hiccup tries to mediate the mood, taking the time to talk to him in soft words and rub him behind the ears. The contact sends a shiver down his spine which does little to alleviate the intensity of the situation.
When the harness comes out, he fixates on its form and shuffles nervously. Hiccup tries to fit it to him but while he moves and paces, it takes a few minutes. He moves to the tail, ready to secure the straps and his makeshift tail fin.
He is already tense and alert and the youth whom double checks the straps irritates him. He is offended that the man believes Hiccup incapable of securing the straps, particularly since he invented them. He is already snarling but the man doesn't back off, he simply snorts arrogantly before undoing a strap and pulling tightly.
There is a sharp pinch were the strap catches his skin and the pain flares on his side. His passion and fury and anger cause him to swing his tail furiously. He doesn't remember that his friend is behind him so his anger isn't directed at anyone but the man. He roars furiously at him while turns and sways. He feels the weight of something pressing against him and then; there is the sound of a collision.
He spins around defensively, ready to attack and defend. Against a wall, a small form is lying, unmoving and limp. For a moment, his mind doesn't connect with whom it is. He doesn't recognize the shining prosthetic or the crop of brown hair. All he can hear is shouts and then… someone is jumping on top of him and there are ropes and nets and he feels anxiety and panic. Yet, his eyes are still fixated on the small boy and his unmoving body. On Astrid, who is crouching over him and speaking soft words. He is being restrained and pushed into the hard surface of the training ring but he can only stare at the small body that was his everything. He gave up flight for him, he gave up freedom and the wild and the very air that was his home. He gave up the sky for that unmoving body.
When he realizes what the humans are trying to do, he begins to resist. He spreads his wings in the net, he builds a fire within his body that is hot and angry. He roars at the men and from his mouth, great balls of fire fling themselves onto the net, searing it instantly. He snaps his wings again and the net snaps, falls apart like pieces of strings. He snarls and bites and when the humans use their weapons on him, he lets the first few swipes graze him. He lets the humans build their confidence before pouncing on them, letting them know whom they are dealing with.
He manages to claw his way up the steel cage and fling himself into the air. He can't fly but he can glide and when he touches the ground, he sprints with all of his effort and speed. There are men running behind him, shouting and flinging small knives and arrows. His body is too quick though and he darts them, mocking the humans with his speed and agility.
He disappears into the forest.
Hiccup doesn't wake up.
When he falls against the stonewall of the training ring, he drops into oblivion immediately. By the time Astrid rushes to him, his head is a sticky mess of blood and skull fragment. The deep colour of his lifeblood coats his hair and runs down his face.
They call the village elders, whom are great healers, to help the boy. At first, they are full of confidence, reassuring Stoic that his son will be up and walking within the week. They all believe such a statement, after all, the boy had survived an amputation and the stress of a fall. Stock grins weakly, trying not to show the thin film of moisture which covers his eyes. Astrid unashamedly allows tears to spill down her face, retaining enough pride to let them fall without blotting them. She has no need to hide her worry, they all know how much she cares for the small form in the bed.
"Will he be okay?" She asks as the healers walk out of Hiccup's room.
They do not answer her, their faces tell enough. Stoic walks over grimly and stands beside Astrid, his tall forming dwarfing hers.
"What news have you?" He says, not caring about formalities or pleasantries.
They bow their heads, perhaps in sorrow or frustration for their inability to help the boy, "He…" an old woman is talking, and her eyes are misty and her hands gnarled, "his skull is broken We cannot stop the bleeding. He… will pass within the night."
Astrid sobs, her whole body shaking from the force. She had fallen in love with the awkward boy. She had finally learned to trust someone, to let them into her body and mind and she had believed that he would hold that trust as sacred. She thinks of what they could have. Of the marriage, the children, the days of their old age when they would simply sit beside each other and think of their life and love.
She sobs but she's strong and she wants to be with him one last time. She pushes past the elder, knowing that Stoic will soon follow her. She sits beside his beside and holds his hand. It's limp and cold in hers and she can hardly hear his breathing. Every so often, a hitch will form and she feels, more then she knows, that he is dying. She can almost feel him slipping from beneath her fingers, like his spirit is flying to a different world. She hopes to be his light in the dark but his cheeks do not retain their rosy blush of colour. She cries because she'll never see those green-flecked eyes again.
"Son…" It's Stoic beside her whom breaks the silence. Tears are running down his face. "Son… you're all that I have. Don't leave like this. Just a few more days."
His big form is shaking and she can feel the sorrow pouring off him, "I wish… that I hadn't wasted all that time. I wish that I had appreciated you from the start."
"I know that you weren't happy as a child. You didn't have a reason to be. I never talked to you and the children didn't understand you. You were different but… I shouldn't have let that overtake that you were still my son… that I still loved you. If you can hear me, I just want you to know that I love you. More then anything else in my life."
Astrid can feel her own heart wrenching but she can't imagine what Stoic must be feeling. She lays a hand on his arm but he doesn't break his eye contact from his son. She thinks of how much he had changed, how boisterous and happy he had become. She wonders how he will cope. His whole family had been taken from him.
The sun soon sets and unlike on most twilight moments, there is no sound of the village to greet the night. Everyone is worried about the small boy whom had allowed a little bit of happiness into their lives.
Towards midnight, when Stoic's head is bent in a deep prayer, his hands grasped onto his son's tightly, she sees something through the sun window. Staring back at her are great, green eyes.
She is shocked because in the chaos of Hiccup's fading life, she hadn't thought about Toothless once. She hates the dragon for what he did, for what he inflicted on his charge. She feels a deep bitterness and resentment that eats away at her insides.
But then, the eyes flicker away from hers and simply stares down at the boy.
In her heart, she knows that this was an accident, that Toothless would never mean to hurt his dear heart. She knows that it was simply a cruel twist of events, which turned the dragon into a villain and her love into a wraith. So, she allows Toothless to stay, high above her, peering down on the boy like a silent, night guardian. When Stoic lifts his head from his prayers, she doesn't mention the green eyes or the form of the sleek dragon. She simply lets him be.
In the early hours of the morning, when a strange sense of peace and silence has fallen over the room, Hiccup dies.
News of his death doesn't spread for a while but the villagers know, when they hear that lonesome and heart wrenching sound, that he has passed.
Astrid is inconsolable, the full reality of the situation having descended upon her. Stoic is simply silent, an eerie and strange manner for him to adopt at such a time. They know that both Astrid and Stoic are more then heartsick. There is an aura to their presences that screams of hopelessness and abandonment.
Toothless has yet to appear. Although parties have been dispatched to find him, he leaves no trace, almost like an apparition. Even without the ability of flight, he eludes the men as they search every den and cove.
He watches Hiccup's body for a while after his last breath leaves him. He feels something akin to pain within him, a loss that is beyond anything he could imagine. He has an age near immortal and the thought of living those long years without Hiccup fills him with despair. Even to live without a proper farewell is wrong enough, to know that he is the reason Hiccup no longer laughs and smiles is unbearable.
He watches as the village men try to banish the other dragons. The creatures are confused and disorientated and they are difficult and stubborn to push away. They cling to their masters eagerly and snort smoke tendril's when they are rejected. Astrid and Stoic are too deep in mourning to notice what is happening so by the time the funeral pyre is built and ready, the dragons have all but vanished. They will be back the next day, ready to bond with their masters again. Toothless doesn't know what reception they will get, perhaps the pain and horror of the situation will have faded. Perhaps they will draw their swords.
He watches as great strong men lift the raft of sticks and trees and bring it to the water's edge. They bring Hiccup down, his body dressed in robes fit for the son of a chieftain. The villagers cry and the women sob loudly. Most of the children do not understand but they cry in unison. When they lay Hiccup in the raft, they lay with him his hammer, which he built so many inventions with. They lay his riding saddle beside him and his scribbled drawings in as well. His diaries are still in the house, now collected in Stoic's room as memorials.
He can't hear the words spoken from his lookout but he can see the way that Astrid sobs. He sees the men pushing great burning torches into the flammable raft and then pushing it into the water. Smoke belches forth from the raft, consuming the drawings and fighting against the leather saddle.
Toothless does not watch as it drifts into the cove, slowly falling apart before sinking into the sea. He can still smell the ash and smoke and it makes him ill to know that it is his Hiccup that is engulfed in flames. He thinks of his small body, floating to the bottom of the ocean to be devoured by creatures of the deep. It makes him burn with something he has never felt.
He knows that he will never feel such an intense bond again. He will never look at another living being and feel the same rush of adoration and love. He knows that he will never feel happiness swell within him. He feels as if he has lost a mate. It is unfair and the pain of the moment aches within him.
As if in a dream, he walks to the sea cliff. He knows that his appetite has deserted him and that his crippled body will be a burden to live with forever. He knows that he will never forgive himself for hurting something so precious and fragile.
So he allows himself to fall into the deep ocean. He allows himself to be swept by the waves and hurled along the Cliffside.
He allows his lungs to fill with water.
He joins his rider.
With hope as my friend,
I make up some time
I look for a good beginning
but it becomes a disappointment
AN: I really hope you all enjoyed this. I kind of poured my heart into it so I hope it is received well. Please review and I'd really like it if you are going to favourite to please give me a buzz and tell me why you enjoyed it :D