a/n: Thank you, to all of you, who reviewed and favourited Speechless. I thought I'd write a follow-up, even though the story really didn't need one. It doesn't follow anything but my train of thought, nor does it follow any plot (other than the one I loosely constructed in the first part). This is not crucial to anything, so you can choose to skip it if you'd prefer.
If you are going to continue, enjoy!
His heart felt as though it had been wrenched from his chest, weakly beating and battered to the extent that even he, Stoick the Vast, had to hide behind a mask of empty happiness. He had never felt this way. Not in his long, plentiful life, had he ever felt so worthless.
What had he gained from this little escapade? Nothing. Nothing but the unmoving, cold body of his only son. What had he achieved? Nothing. Nothing but the urge to rip his own hair out of his scalp, and lock himself in his house and cry where no one could see him. His mind was stuck in a cold, unforgiving mantra of 'I deserve this, I deserve this, I deserve this.' He believed it, and his mind continued to recite it, and he continued to believe it some more. There was nothing he could do to fix his mistakes. The gods had already punished him for the sin he didn't know he had committed.
His son had practically died by his own hand.
And then, as if his broken and tired frame was struck by lightning, he started. He had practically killed his son. It wasn't the smoke, it wasn't the fire, it wasn't even the dragon. It was the feeling of unfulfilled duty- his son had wanted to fix this mess, to prove himself, and so he had attempted to. And Stoick had let him. Let him fall to his own death.
As far-fetched as his accusation was, even to him, he began to believe that, too. He killed his own son.
It could quite possibly have been a murder.
His fragile heart agreed. He hated himself, all of a sudden, and a small part of him said 'this is not the truth. You don't deserve this,' but he didn't feel like listening.
The voice of self-loathing was so much sweeter. So much more convincing.
Stoick eyed a sketchbook settled on the table, fallen pages strewn over the wooden surface. Drawings littered the parchment: odd contraptions, meticulously drawn scenery, dragons. So many beautifully detailed dragons. Stoick felt his aching chest swell with pride, before deflating once again.
He did not have anyone he could say he was proud of. Not anymore.
Should that stop him?
Stoick blinked, his gaze ripped from the drawings to look straight ahead of him. True, should that stop him?
Then guilt settled in. How could he dismiss the memory of his son so easily?
Then came a strange feeling of frustration. Why was he acting so weak?
Stoick hadn't noticed when he'd clenched his fists over the wooden table, or when he'd stood up. The thump of his chair hitting the ground yanked him back to his senses, and his fists immediately relaxed.
He didn't know. He really, truly, honestly didn't know. But he wanted to fix it. In any way, he wanted to get rid of all of these irksome feelings plaguing his mind.
So he looked at the sketchbook, resting so peacefully on the table, having been thrown haphazardly in the middle of the splintered slab of wood. He collected all of the stray pages, and delicately placed them inside the book, his expression solemn and a tad bit confused.
There was a feeling, something bordering the line of instinct, that told him Hiccup would want him to move on. Move away. Continue to lead the village in a new light.
As a Viking, he was taught to always follow his instincts.
Stoick didn't know where this thought had come from. He stood there for a while, the leather-bound book in his hands, and his eyes unfocused.
His village needed him. He couldn't possibly be of any good to them if he sat in his house all day.
But his son…
What about his son?
The truth has a way of showing up at the most brutal of times, but whatever happens, it happens for a reason.
That did not mean he should completely forget about him. Does it?
…No. No, it doesn't. Not in the slightest… But if he didn't want to forget, how would he be able to move on?
The encouraging words of his people rang in his ears, and he finally tried to pay heed to what they'd been trying to say. A familiar word was on the tip of his tongue, and Stoick inwardly winced. His head had begun throbbing wildly, as he hadn't thought so hard in nearly a month.
A month…since that incident.
An incident he should accept.
And then the word hit him, like a boulder, and he realized what his experiences, the old teachings, the legends of death and rebirth told him- to honour. To honour his memory, and to allow himself to forgive his actions.
There it was again, his actions.
He had…forgiven Hiccup, hadn't he? He had forgiven him. He had finally said he was proud of him. He'd meant every word.
That was it, then.
Stoick released a sigh he hadn't known he'd been holding, and set the book in his hands back down. Hiccup wouldn't have wanted him to be upset. His son had never been very close to him, but Stoick knew this much.
He peered across the room, to a window that had been left open, and watched the sun peek over the horizon.
Maybe…it was time to start again.