Here's another (longer) HTTYD one shot. I wanted to do something sad and tragic, but at the same time insightful into how the relationship between father and son got so disfunctional. So here's my take on the loss of Valhallarama, and how hard it was for them to transition. Please leave a comment! Oh, and ps, I tried to depict Valhallarama as a fierce warrior and give her a fitting and noble end, because this is my take on her.
Disclaimer: I do not own either version of HTTYD
It started out as a peaceful night. Stoick lay asleep in his bed, his wife dozing next to him. Their four-year-old son lay asleep in the next room. A roar, one he had trained himself to jolt awake at, sounded, shaking the house. Almost immediately after he opened his eyes, he was out of bed, flinging on his bear-pelt cape. He grabbed his spiked hammer as his wife rose, eyes as determined as Stoick's, donning her own cloak as she grasped her battle axe. With a quick kiss, one given the moment before they both rushed into battle, they dashed out into the hall. Stoick made it outside first, as his wife paused in the house to tell Hiccup to stay put.
He ran into the fray, glancing behind him once to see her leaving the house, tightening her grip on her weapon. Stoick couldn't help a fond grin spreading over his face even as he lunged at a downed Gronckle.
Valhallarama admired her husband as he dove into battle, but kept her senses sharp, ready to shoot down a dragon at her first opportunity. She fought not for the thrill of the battle, as she had when she was younger, but to protect husband – though he didn't need it – and her frail son, who certainly needed protecting. She noticed a clump of Nadders stalking after some sheep, and made to pursue them, but something stopped her in her tracks.
Her nerves were jangling, screaming at her that something wrong. Sixth sense, premonition, maternal instinct, whatever name it had, she suddenly knew her precious son, Hiccup, was in mortal danger. Valhallarama pivoted on her heel, throwing herself towards the house and son that she'd left vulnerable. As she ran, she saw a Nightmare land heavily on the roof, flaming it contemptuously. The structure, usually safe for her son because it was so far from the livestock fields, had become a death trap. She gave a fierce battle cry, and the Nightmare looked up, distracted from his task of trying to tear the roof apart. It set its skin on fire as it alighted on the ground in front of her, growling. Valhallarama launched herself at the beast. As she fought it, she saw her house collapse partway, and could swear that she heard a small child scream. She was only distracted for a second, but it was enough. The Nightmare clawed her. She could feel the wounds were long and deep, but adrenaline numbed her pain. Her only thought was to kill the dragon so that it could not hurt Hiccup.
Meanwhile, Stoick was unaware of the calamity that had just occurred. He was really getting into it with a particularly stubborn pair of Nadders, and had managed to subdue them when someone rushed up to him.
"Chief Stoick! Your house – a Nightmare got it – Valhallarama's fighting it – she's hurt –" the man stumbled over his words in haste. Stoick's eyes widened, and he rushed back in the direction he'd come without hesitation.
When he arrived, heart pounding in fear as well as exertion, he felt despair wash over him. He was behind the Nightmare, able to see his wife's front, and the three enormous claw marks that gushed blood. Despite her terrible injuries, she fought valiantly against the creature that wounded her so. Roaring with fury, Stoick charged at the beast. A haze of rage clouded his mind, and he was barely aware of himself fighting the dragon, sole focus to save the love of his life. He didn't even feel the small burns the Nightmare's flaming skin left.
And then, suddenly, the beast was dead and it's skin extinguished. Stoick rushed to Valhallarama as she fell to the ground, the adrenaline that had strengthened her now gone. He was no healer, he couldn't stop the bleeding, but he tried anyway. He shouted at one of the younger vikings, a boy who had passed training only two years previously, to fetch a healer. The young man tore off, leaving Stoick alone with his dying wife. Despite the noise the raging battle all through the village must have caused, the world seemed oddly silent. He could only hear his wife's faint pleas.
"Stoick..." she whispered, voice rough and raspy. "Hiccup...he's in there...the wreckage...is he alive?"
Renewed panic struck Stoick. He tore at the rubble that once contained his happy little family, searching for some sign, any sign of their son. He could not loose his son. If he lost his wife, he would drown in grief. If he lost his son, he would go insane. If he lost both in the same moment...
He tore through broken and burnt wood for what seemed like hours, until he jostled a heap that suddenly screamed. Frantic, the viking threw aside the ruined fragments of his house, until at last his tiny son was revealed. He suffered bad burns, and numerous scratches that bled, but not profusely. As Stoick scooped up his only son, the child screamed in pain. The man feared that Hiccup had broken a rib, if not many. With his injured son, Stoick returned to his dying wife. She lay there, coughing up blood, but a wave of relief passed over her face at the sight of their son.
"I love...you both...very much," she gasped, forcing herself to sit up a bit so that she could press a kiss to Hiccup's forehead and Stoick's lips. The chief had one arm wrapped around each member of his family, as if he could hold on the the last moments they had being together as a whole family and keep them from slipping away. He couldn't.
Valhallarama was dead before the healer arrived. When the aging woman did get to Stoick, still gasping for air from the dash she'd made, she told him his son was gravely injured, both by burns and broken ribs, and might not live.
In that moment, Stoick's world shattered.
After his wife died, Stoick was positive that he'd never smile, never feel happy again. She'd always been there, with an unusually kind word, a short but bright smile. She was the one who dealt with their son, raised and fed him. And now she was gone. Forever.
For almost two full weeks, Stoick lived in a daze. He responded to direct questions robotically, never really thinking. He lay awake most of the night, all too aware of the cold, empty spot next to him.
How was he supposed to survive without her?
Odin, it was rough. Every few minutes, he felt the terrible pang of her loss. Every few minutes, he realized he'd never hear her laugh again. Minutes blurred into hours, which blurred into days, all indistinguishable from one another. He'd never felt such terrible heartbreak.
Until, at least, he remembered Hiccup.
Thirteen days after his wife's death, Stoick realized the last time he for sure remembered seeing their son was shortly after the raid, when he was being bandaged by the healer. He thought he remembered feeding the boy and changing his bandages for several days afterward, but everything was so blurred by the pain of losing Val it was impossible to know for sure.
Hiccup. Tiny, frail Hiccup.
Might not live .
A four-year-old boy who had been born sickly, and had a frail body and health ever since. Though it was clear that his mind was very quick, he was slow to walk, to talk. He was clever, but always seemed behind the other children, who already scuffled with each other. And he had been hurt, badly, during the raid and Stoick didn't know where he was.
His wife had looked after their son, mostly. He contributed, occasionally speaking to the boy directly, more often discussing him with his wife. He loved his son, but had no idea how to raise a child. He hardly knew what to feed a small boy.
And now he'd lost his son, his only child, the only thing left of his family.
He was a terrible father.
He rushed up the stairs, bursting into his son's room. The bed was empty, and there was no other furniture in the room. Hiccup had spent most of his time downstairs with his mother.
He checked the entire rest of the house, and no Hiccup. Panic flooded through him. It was almost winter and his barely-more-than-a-baby son had been gone, out of the house for an indeterminable period of time.
Stoick barely paused to grab his fur coat before he pelted out of the house, dashing to the Great Hall. It was very late at night, and as a result, empty. He checked through the entire structure, even the kitchens, and still he was unable to find his only son.
Before long, he was pounding frantically on Gobber's door.
"Wha'zuh ma'ar" Gobber mumbled, almost incoherent.
"Hiccup's gone. He's gone, and I don't know how long its been. I can't find him, Gobber, my son!"
Gobber's eyes widened, then he grabbed his coat from beside the door. "We'll find 'im. Let's check the forge; I haven't checked it for qui' some time, there's been so many reconstructions to do. The fire burns hot an' strong tho'. If he got out, he'd've been drawn to it," Stoick's old friend reasoned.
It took only a minute to reach the forge, Stoick bursting through the door before Gobber did. He didn't see anyone, despite what Gobber said about the warmth. His shoulders sagged. What had he done?
"Wait a minute," the other Viking grumbled, hobbling around the forge, peering in the corners. He stumbled over something on the other side of the fire. "Aha!"
Stoick rushed over. There, curled up on the floor, lay Hiccup. The tiny boy was shivering despite his proximity to the fire, with only his clothes to keep him warm. Beyond that, even by the light the forge cast, Stoick could tell the poor child had been malnourished. Before the raid, Hiccup's cheeks had been round, even though the rest of him was twiggy. Now his cheeks were slack, and the rest of his body was even skinnier.
Remorse flooded through Stoick. What had he done to his only child? He was lucky Hiccup wasn't dead yet. If he had been, it would have been entirely Stoick's fault. His wife would kill him if she were still alive.
"Hiccup," Stoick gasped, barely able to choke back tears. He knelt down beside his son, almost afraid to touch him, as if doing so would mean all this was real, was his fault.
"Well, your boy is smart. He found the snacks I stored up. It wasn't much, but it kept him going," Gobber noted, looking at a now-empty drawer.
Stoick felt a sob burst out of him as he gathered the five year old in his arms. So light, so frail, so not able to fend for himself. The child's skin was cold to the touch, even as his small body shook with chill. Immediately, Stoick shed his already-warmed cloak, wrapping it around the boy.
The warmth woke Hiccup up.
"Daddy?" his voice was thin and quavering.
"Hiccup! I'm right here," Stoick responded.
"Daddy! Please don't leave me again! I'm sorry! I dunno what I did, but I'm sorry! Please don't leave me!" Hiccup cried, immediately afraid of being left alone again. Now that his father was back, he couldn't hold in the fear that he, Hiccup, had done something wrong to deserve the abandonment.
Stoick's heart tore more than it had when his wife died. He neglected his son, and now the poor child thought it was his fault for his father's carelessness.
"Hiccup, I promise I'm not going anywhere. I'm so sorry. So, so sorry," Stoick returned to his son. One massive hand stroked his son's hair, the other held the small boy to his chest.
He walked back to the house on his own, having sent Gobber to get a healer. He needed someone who knew what they were doing to check up on the neglected child's health.
Once inside, Stoick placed Hiccup on the large bed he and his wife had shared. It was easier to get to than the one Hiccup normally slept on upstairs, and he wanted to be able to keep an eye on his son, especially at the moment.
The healer came with Gobber not much later. She listened to Stoick's story, shook her head, but did not reprimand the chief further, seeing the burning remorse in his eyes. She told him his son was dehydrated, malnourished, and that the cold had made him sick.
"Just make sure you tend to him carefully, and he'll recover. It looks like you tended to his wounds well enough for about a week or so that they didn't get infected," she said, departing the house. Gobber left too, after boiling a pot of water.
Stoick watched his sleeping son. How had he been selfish enough to ignore the diminutive child? How had he forgotten his only offspring? He swore, from now on, he would keep a close eye on the boy. He'd keep him safe. Nothing he would ever do could possibly erase the guilt he felt, but at least he could care for the boy from now on.
Yes, yes, I know, very sad story. But it has a kinda sweet resolution? I wrote this to kinda show the transition between their life before and after Valhallarama died, and how much of a struggle it was. I imagine loosing someone so crucial to the family structure is nearly impossible to deal with. This also serves as a possible insight into why the relationship between Hiccup and Stoick is so broken - maybe they never fully recovered from Val's death.
ANYWAY, don't let the sadness keep you from reviewing!