A/N: This began as a 10 piece oneshot about the lives of each of the HTTYD characters after the Red Death. I didn't really like that everything was just BAM! fixed. I'm a bigger fan of angst than that. Although to be honest, I'd be lying to say this is terribly angsty. I'm hoping I can continue it, but I'm having a lot of trouble. I thought you guys would still enjoy the first three pieces though - Hiccup, Astrid, and Toothless. If I ever get inspired by this idea again, I'll add on with the other characters.
The entire world seemed empty; a brisk wind bit at the skin of anyone brave enough to wander outside. The sky was dark. No one dared make a sound. A small boy sat, curled into himself for warmth, against a brightly lit building. His body shook with shivers, but he'd rather face pneumonia then enter the great hall again. He preferred it out here, where there was no one screaming or protesting.
Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III had assumed that once he saved his tribe using dragons they'd finally believe in them. He wouldn't have to kill dragons or watch others do the same. They'd all be friends.
What he hadn't remembered was that other Vikings weren't like him. It was stupid of him to assume they'd all be suddenly okay with the dragons. They'd been fighting them for years. Trust was hard to gain, even if it was the Vikings that had hurt the dragons first. You couldn't just suddenly respect someone; it didn't matter if you were talking about dragons or scrawny teenag-
Gods, he was stupid.
A strange sobbing noise ripped from his throat.
Pull yourself together, Hiccup, he ordered. You're fine. Toothless is fine. No one's trying to kill him - or you - right now.
They're just debating whether or not they're allowed to do it later.
As he let his head fall back, he squeezed his eyes shut. If it weren't for the freezing temperature, blistering wind, and hard bench he could almost imagine himself back in his bed. A nap sounded really good right now. He didn't have to face any of this when he was sleeping.
Hiccup's head shot up as soon as heard the feet crunching against the snow. "Oh, it's you," he muttered, looking back down. One hand rose to scratch the back of his head. He could feel her sit on the bench next to him.
"Yeah, it's me," Astrid said, moving closer to him. He was painfully aware of the heat radiating from her body. In a normal situation, her being willing to even look at him without hostility would send his teenage hormones racing. Okay, who was he kidding? His hormones would race no matter how she looked at him. "Nice weather we're having, right?"
"What?" Hiccup snorted, turning to look at her.
"See, that's what I thought too," she said, her eyes narrowing, "So why in the name of Thor would you be out here when there's a feast inside?"
That shut him up. He turned his eyes to his knees again. Why was she even here? She beat him; she kissed him. She practically ignored him, and then she was trying to give him some sort of pep talk.
Speaking of the devil, her hand slipped through his.
"Don't you have to beat me now or something?" he grumbled.
"I get it Hiccup." He rolled his eyes. "You did a lot of work to make everyone get along, and now it seems like nothing is going to change. So you're frustrated."
"So what if I am?" he spat, groaning inwardly. What was wrong with him? He wanted to die, didn't he?
"My point is, Hiccup, you don't have to bottle it all up. We're not going to hate you now just because you get frustrated sometimes. I'm not going to hate you."
"Why not? You hated me before! You always have!"
"Hiccup, I didn't hate you until a few weeks ago. I just didn't care enough to acknowledge your existence."
"Oh yeah, that's so much better," he groaned.
"Well, I'm just being honest. Do you want me to finish or not?" After a few moments, Hiccup nodded. "Look, I'm sorry for not caring about you before. I didn't, and I can't change that now. Then when we started dragon training, that's when I started to hate you."
"Thanks for clarifying."
"Stop interrupting!" He flinched in anticipation of the beating.
"You didn't care about it, and it was obvious. You didn't want to be there. You were still chasing that idiotic dream of catching the Night Fury, and you weren't even trying to hide it! You were just asking Gobber all these inane questions while the rest of us were trying to stay alive. You were endangering your own life and everyone else's. That was obnoxious enough; then you had to get good at it. You didn't even care, but you were beatingme at something I'd been working on my entire life! I practice with my axe every day. Twice! It drove me crazy."
"Is this supposed to be helping?" She elbowed him, but he noticed it was softer than it usually was. "Have you been replaced by some sort of clone I never knew about?" he protested.
"Don't push me, Hiccup. You're only getting away with this because you have a really good excuse. The fact is, I never really thought of you as just a person until we went on that dragon ride, and then I actually liked that you were a person. So I'm not going to hate you again! No one's going to hate you again!" Hiccup froze.
"I'm sorry," she murmured.
"It's okay. You're right."
"Of course I am," she smirked at him. Her hand rose and curled into a fist. He screwed his eyes shut as her arm swung.
"Ow!" he whined, clutching his arm.
"That's for making me sit out in the cold and give you a pep talk again," she growled. He laughed.
"Don't I get a kiss now or something?"
"You're pushing it again."
"Besides, your nose is runny."
For whatever reason, Astrid had always loved cold weather. Some other Vikings whined about it; as she had discovered, Hiccup especially did this often. He'd pout and moan and grumble every time he had to leave a building. He even groaned about flying Toothless. Astrid was different. She liked the brisk wind against her face. It reminded her of who she was and what her village was made up of. Most people couldn't have settled here. They wouldn't have been able to handle the cold or the dragons.
Vikings were different.
For better or for worse, they had chosen this place to settle down. This island that, for all of its issues, was solid and unchanging. Admittedly, there had been quite a bit of change amongst the inhabitants of the island lately, but that didn't change the fact that Berk itself remained as steady as always. She'd even go as far as to say she enjoyed the biting temperatures freezing her fingers. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Astrid liked to be as strong as she could be.
Lately, she'd doubted her strength. It had been bad enough when Hiccup had undermined all of her hard work by proving it was possible to do everything she could without caring or trying. Then all of her aspirations and her entire lifestyle proved to be based on a lie.
Needless to say, she enjoyed the reminders of her strength.
The blonde Viking took pleasure in every thwack her axe made into the wood of a tree. The spikes on her skirt that cut into her chair reminded her of how useful her armor would be when she finally got into combat. As she ran circles around Snotlout, she'd wondered how he'd ever thought he was faster than her. Even her Nadder proved her skill. Named for having the hottest fire out of any dragon, Stormfly wouldn't let anyone but Astrid on her back. She turned up her nose at them as if she could sense mediocrity.
Seeing her girl dominate the others in the daily contest over her heart moved her heart, it really did. Unfortunately, that's why times like this were particularly unbearable.
"Listen to me," Astrid growled, "I want to go home. I don't care what absurd phobia you have of getting dirt on your precious scales. You're my dragon; you're supposed to help me." Stormfly blew flames towards the ground. Once it was sufficiently warm, she folded up her wings and laid down. The message she was sending was clear.
You look disgusting, and you're not touching me.
Astrid flopped down against a tree. The bark dug into her back. She looked down at herself. Even she had to admit it was unappealing. Her axe had fallen off of its place on Stormfly. She'd been forced to meander through the mud in the forest.
Somehow, she'd fallen. At least she'd found it.
Biting her lip, she fought not to lose her temper. She knew that even though Stormfly was acting like a sludge-bucket, if she started screaming now her dragon would never listen. She had to play her cards exactly right.
"I bet Toothless would still give Hiccup a ride if he were covered in mud." Stormfly opened a single eye. Astrid crossed her arms at her. The Nadder closed it again. Her rider muttered a curse under her breath.
"I guess he's just more loyal. Nicer too, probably. Their bond must just be stronger. To be honest, Toothless is probably just an all around better dragon." Stormfly's eyes were open again. Smoke puffed out of her nostrils. Astrid grinned. She knew this meant she was winning.
"Where do you think you find Night Furies? They have such perfect aim. I have great aim. Plus they're so fast! I don't think there's any other type of dragon faster than a Night Fury!" Her dragon was standing up now, ruffling indignantly. The blonde stood up too.
They looked in each other's eyes. Astrid did her best to make hers challenging; Stormfly's showed that she knew exactly what her human was doing.
Still, she was a proud dragon. Proud dragons don't let those accusations go lightly. Even if their scales would get dirty. Astrid grinned as her dragon moved to allow her to hop on.
Swinging her leg over Stormfly's back, she gripped the reins with her muddy hands. She could tell by her dragon's stance how stressed she was about the mess. The dragon ascended quickly, and her breath was promptly sucked out. The clouds flew past them. The cold air bit at her muddy cheeks. The rapid speed of the wings beating on either side of her reminded her of her cunning.
It was good to be strong.
Toothless tilted his head at his human. What was going on? His human, the little hatchling he trained, was playing with other dragons. Dragons who were not Toothless! This was ridiculous! When had this been allowed?
Keeping his eyes on Hiccup, he gobbled up a fish moodily. There were some advantages to this strange new home. He got to follow Hiccup around everywhere he went. This was especially nice because he was very suspicious of his new leg. He could tell from his secret flinches that it hurt him a lot more than he'd admit.
Another advantage was that he got as much food as he wanted; he took another fish. Hopefully, this would teach Hiccup a lesson. You play with other dragons, I take all your food! Normally, Toothless would've blown fire at any one who did something he didn't like.
This wasn't a dragon though. This was his human. Humans were weak and fleshy without their frustrating armor. He'd never target his human on purpose, even if it was to teach him a lesson. A very important lesson. A lesson his human had to learn because he really didn't want to have to deal with other dragons the rest of his human's life.
Ugh, this day was only getting worse. Toothless glared at him. His ear flaps laid flat against his head as he watched the yellow haired one walk over to him. Hiccup's lips pulled up at the edges when she approached. The Night Fury recognized that as a sign of friendship. The other human returned the gesture.
The black dragon buried his head in his paws. He didn't want to see this.
One eye opened slowly. He couldn't not see this.
Hiccup was staring at his feet. His cheeks were red like they had been when he was ill. This is where Toothless drew the line. He couldn't sit and watch the yellow haired human make his own sick. He stood up, abandoning his fish for his human.
His tail scraped across the floor behind him as he walked towards them. He was unfortunately aware of the fake side of his tail; he ignored it. His human was scratching a Gronckle in his favorite place to be scratched!
"Toothless! Hey buddy!" Hiccup called, turning towards him. The Gronckle rolled happily on the ground. Its tongue lolled out of its mouth. Toothless shot a glare in its direction and bounded towards his human.
The yellow haired human gasped in surprise as he shoved her aside with his body. His human made the friendly gesture to him. His small, generally ineffective claws dug perfectly between his scales. It finally reached his favorite spot, and he joined the Gronckle in the happy rolling.
Take that, foes. Hiccup is still my human.
Astrid, the yellow haired human, seemed to have once again gained his attention. Toothless had previously seen his human look uncomfortable. He knew this wasn't causing him pain, but that didn't make him like it.
"Hiccup! Can we get some help over here?" a large burly human shouted from across the training arena. Hiccup waved goodbye to the two of them and ran off to help them. Toothless' ear flaps fell again.
As they stood there, the other human turned towards him. "I guess that's what happens when you're the hero of Berk, right?" she said. Her hand moved towards him. He shot a glare at her and backed away.
"C'mon, Toothless, my Nadder is out hunting, and you saved my life before. I thought we were friends now." He ignored her. "Fine."
They stood in silence.
What could it hurt? His neck was still really itchy. This didn't mean he was okay with her hanging out with Hiccup instead of him. He scooted closer to her. Astrid's hand moved towards him again, but he didn't move away this time.
Before he knew it, he was laying on his back as she grinned. "My Nadder likes being scratched there too," she told him, crouching down near him to scratch his stomach. He looked at her. She pulled her lips up in the friendly gesture.
Toothless returned it.
Even though they'd sort of made up after he saved her life, he still felt as if this was important. He never would've thought that he could actually befriend another human. Hiccup was different; any idiot could tell Hiccup was different. This Astrid was the same. Despite all of the smiles, he didn't think he could ever stand to live amongst humans that weren't his. It was true that he wouldn't bond with any one else the way he had with Hiccup. Still, even Toothless had to accept the truth sometimes.
Toothless was wrong.