Soli Deo gloria
DISCLAIMER: I do NOT own How To Train Your Dragon.
EDIT: To Tasermon's Partner, you managed to make me feel like an idiot because yes, a ram is a BOY sheep and an ewe is a GIRL sheep. So blah. Sorry, I DID fix it. Thank you for pointing that out, or else I would have noticed it months from now and slammed my head against a desk. :)
It was a blustery, cold day, but Stoick didn't seem to notice the bone-chilling temperature. He hadn't time to think of such trivial, menial things when there was sheep to get herded into the pen by the Haddocks' house.
It wasn't a very large pen. That was fine, though. Stoick didn't have a large flock. Only a dozen or so that he sheared every spring. He had one of the village women make cloth and such for him and his son. Even Hiccup wasn't so in touch with his homemaking skills to make cloth.
Each of the sheep were tended by one of the mass shepherds, and Stoick would go and collect them and bring them home at the end of the day. They slept and ate and stared aimlessly out on the world each night and were released each morning.
Now, every other Viking in Berk sent their sheep to be taken care of full-time by the shepherd Vikings, who had their big pens full of sheep along the hills. But not Stoick. And one would think that he, the Chief, would not have time or have to do that at all.
But he wanted to.
There was a very old sheep amongst his flock. It was a ewe, with big eyes and a wrinkly, saggy face. Her body was thick and fat and her head was nearly folded into itself by the fleece that surrounded her, like a big bunch of cotton.
It should have died years ago. It gave up on birthing lambs, which made up the rest of the flock. Any other Viking would have it put down. But not Stoick. He would agree that it was practically useless. But he didn't care. He didn't look at it as a working animal.
He held onto it purely on sentimental value.
It had been his wife's, Valka. She quite liked keeping house and raising sheep. She had a special place for them, talked to them like they were children, and scolded Stoick every time he dissed one of them. She'd been quite protective of them. Stoick could have cared less. Now he cared for that old ewe and her offspring like they were a poor Viking family.
When he came upon the pen and bid the shepherds taking up the sheep to the pen away, he noticed something. The old ewe, as it walked into the pen, was limping. One of her back legs lagged behind her.
"Now, that's strange," Stoick said to himself.
"What's strange, Dad?" Stoick turned slightly to see his boy on the front steps, coming up from what must have been another one of his flying sessions. Toothless was scrambling atop the roof to head through the window to his bed. Hiccup, his own prosthetic lagging slightly, came up to the wooden fence that Stoick was leaning against.
"Look at her," Stoick said. He waved a hand toward the ewe, who was chewing on the pale grey grass. "Tonna. Her leg is bad."
"Bad in what exact way, Dad?" Hiccup asked.
"Don't know. Looks bad. Makes her limp," Stoick said.
"Do you want me to check it out for you?" Hiccup said, looking up toward his dad.
Stoick sighed. "Yeah. Do that." He turned. "I'm going to go make supper."
"Right, sure, Dad," Hiccup said. The big Chief headed toward their house. The dark grey sky gave a low rumble. It was going to storm. With thunder and lightning, it seemed.
Hiccup entered the pen and tentatively bent down toward the ewe. The rest of the sheep all turned and faced Hiccup, their bodies lining the circumference of the pen, like an expectant audience.
The ewe turned blankly to Hiccup, who whispered reassuring words and moved up a great handful of fleece to fully see her leg. It was her left back leg, and it was more than hindering her walk. It had an infection from a deep cut, and was turning nearly the entirety of the leg a very sickly green.
"That's pretty disgusting," Hiccup said. He patted the back of the sheep. "Tonna, you're looking real bad." Hiccup was no healer, but he had a thing or two in his head about illnesses and things like this. The leg didn't look like it could be saved. He'd have to take her to Gobber for a surgery, and Hiccup hoped that the surgery would work. He tightened his lips into a line. This was his mother's sheep. When he had been but a merely tiny hiccup, he had seen his mother tending to this sheep. It was her pride and joy, always producing perfect young. And he didn't want a remnant of his memory of his mother leave him if the sheep died.
"Come on," he said quietly, and the ewe let out the tiniest of surprised "ba's" as he lifted her onto his shoulders. He let out a groan as he tried to straighten. He wasn't very good at lifting heavy weights at all. The pain growing in his back told him that, but he tried to ignore it as he groaned and walked down the hill and managed to get through the quiet streets of Berk (there was barely anyone out. Not when there was supper to be had) toward the blacksmith's.
He nearly stumbled and fell down, but he managed to shove the ewe onto a table first before he completely went down.
"Ow!" he groaned.
"Was that someone I 'eard, or is my 'earin' goin' too? Not that I need another lost sense, o' course," Gobber said, coming into the forge area. Three little Terrible Terrors came crawling into the room from behind him, taking to walking along the walls.
Hiccup groaned and bent his arms to make himself sit up. "Hey, Gobber."
"Hiccup, we finished with our smithy stuff 'ours ago. You know, before the dragon flyin' stuff," Gobber said. He looked strangely at Tonna, who was on her side, chewing on something in her mouth, and, scratching the back of his neck with his hook hand, asked, "What's with the ewe?"
"See her leg," Hiccup said, getting to his feet.
"Aye, that looks nasty," Gobber said.
"It needs to get fixed," said Hiccup.
"Well, that's true." Gobber sighed and turned to fetch tools from his worn workbench. "Might as well do it now. The stew needs ta simmer down anyways."
He turned back to the sheep and said, "Hiccup, I need ya to pin down the ewe."
"Pin it down?" Hiccup looked unamused. "Gobber, it weighs as much as I do. How do you honestly expect me to hold it down?"
"Ya managed to carry it," Gobber said. He shrugged and looked unsympathetic. "Now stop complainin' and do what I tell ya to do."
Hiccup rolled his eyes but sank his body's weight on the ewe to hold her down. She looked unaffected as Gobber went on to the infected leg. She only looked alarmed and let out a bleat when he clipped through the bone with an axe, taking the entire leg off.
Hiccup felt like he was going to throw up, but he didn't say a word as Gobber wrapped the stump of a leg in a rag and tied it to her with a rope.
"Well, that's all we can do now," Gobber said. He let out a sigh as the storm thundered behind him. "Ya come in early and make her a prosthetic, 'kay, Hiccup?"
Hiccup nodded after a moment. "Sure, I can do that, Gobber."
Gobber nodded and the fishbone shouldered the sheep and disappeared into Berk just as the thunder rumbled again and a bunch of rain stopped to fall from the dark gray skies, drenching the entire town and making Tonna's fleece start to stink like hell. Hiccup didn't feel like saying a word of complaint, despite himself, as he bit his lip and went up to the door of his house and entered, dripping wet.
His dad was over the fire, poking a disgusting looking piece of meat with a stick. He looked up when he saw his son stumble over to one of the pillows they had lying around near the fire, and asked, "What 'appened now, Hiccup?"
"Her leg was infected," Hiccup said. He gently set the ewe on the pillow, patting it in certain places to make her comfortable, and then straightened, cracking his back and letting out a groan in the process. "Gobber had to take it off. I'm going to make her a new leg in the morning."
"Ya two goin' ta be matchin', then?" Stoick said, nodding to Hiccup's metal leg.
Hiccup looked down at his leg and let out a long sigh. "Ex . . . actly, Dad."
"'Kay. Supper's almost ready. Ya have enough time to get fish for Toothless," Stoick said before turning back to his cooking.
Hiccup let out a long sigh. Frankly, he didn't want to go back into the rain.
But he did anyway.
After the disgusting food was stomached and the meager dishes washed off, the two Haddocks, Toothless, and Tonna sat around the fire. Stoick worked away at sharpening a long stick with a knife, creating a pile of wood curls below him. Toothless yawned and lay down, closing his giant eyes and resting his head against his arms, eager to get some sleep after a long, cold day.
Hiccup leaned against him, his good leg bent while his prosthetic stuck out. He had pulled Tonna's pillow over to him, and was looking over her worriedly. She had fallen quiet after baing quietly while they ate. He had offered her a nearly raw carrot, but she had refused it.
It saddened him greatly, actually, because she just looked so tired. Like she was just tired of existing and maybe Hiccup wasn't doing her a favor with fixing her leg.
He didn't want to make the old sheep annoyed at him, but he didn't want to lose a remnant of his mother. Along with the little Deadly Nadder toy he had on the top of his bedstead, the sheep was the thing with the most memories of his mother for him. He drew up his prosthetic as much as he could and held his knees to himself, looking worriedly over the old sheep, who had fallen asleep.
Hiccup, despite the steadily falling rain, went to the smithy the next day. Toothless, understanding the importance of not eating Tonna, carried her in a blanket to the smithy for Hiccup, for which Hiccup was extremely grateful. He worked away with the metal and fire and fashioned for the majority of the morning. Tonna lay on the blanket near him, watching him with dull eyes. Toothless lay curled in a circle in the rain, his wings up like a roof for his body.
It was very quiet. Gobber was off to the Great Hall, drinking. It was the weekend, after all.
So it was very quiet. But not for very long.
"Ew, is it dead?" Hiccup heard, and he turned, several pieces of metal in his hands, to see Tuffnut and Ruffnut hanging over Tonna. Ruffnut looked grossed out. Tuffnut looked almost bored with her.
"Not YET. Don't touch her," Hiccup said quickly, not in a mood to yell at either of the twins.
"Um, why not? It's not like she can do anything," Ruffnut pointed out.
"Oh, who! She has only three legs! That's sooo weird!" Tuffnut said, stepping back, his arms drawn back, like he had been burned.
"Real sensitive of you, Tuff," Hiccup said dryly.
"Are you making her a fake leg, too?" Ruffnut asked.
"As a matter of fact, I am," Hiccup said. He stuck a metallic piece between the two teins of a pair of tongs and stuck it into the smoldering hot fire, popping sweat all over his forehead.
"So, does this interfere with our plans for going flying?" Snotlout said from atop a barrel. Hiccup rolled his eyes.
"Snotlout, it's raining anyway," Astrid said pointedly. Her hair was soaked. "So unless you want to catch a cold and die, I suggest you stay home."
"Yeah, colds are the lamest way to go," Tuffnut said. He waved his hands around, "Just what I want my grandchildren to hear about. Instead of an epic battle where I tear apart the enemy, they get told their grandpa died of sneezing."
"And coughing," Ruffnut added.
"Hacking and a sore throat," Fishlegs reminded them from where he was looking over Tonna.
Hiccup grimaced and backed away from the fire, using the tongs to fling the metallic leg into a barrel of lukewarm water, cooling it down immediately and filling nearly the entire smithy with steam.
He wiped at his forehead and said, turning to the other five teens who were scattered all about the smithy, "Not that this isn't . . . fun, or anything, but could you stop talking about painful subjects?" It was literally a painful subject for him. He suffered from a severe cold every winter without fail, and he wasn't always sure he'd make it through. He did, though, somehow. Tough Viking skin.
"Yeah, like what?" Tuffnut said, looking bored.
"Think of something. Quick," Hiccup said. He picked the now cooled leg up and took it over to Tonna. Fishlegs instantly looked and began to ramble about it, what had happened with the ewe, how he was going to put it on. Hiccup, for once, didn't say a word or even pay attention to Fishlegs's thousand questions. He instantly ran a hand over Tonna's forehead, which was warm. He frowned and stuck a rag out into the rain, ignoring the curious looks and stupid comments from Snotlout. He placed it on Tonna's forehead and went to attach the new leg to her stump.
Using a series of hooks and folded and hidden pieces of metal, he managed to attach the leg to her. It was bendable using a number of gears and slightly loose, oiled nails. He folded and unfolded it with his hand to check it, and then checked Tonna's forehead. She felt better.
He kept the rag around the stump of her leg to keep it from getting even more infected, and looked up when he was done to see Tuffnut laying the beat down on Snotlout, who eagerly returned it.
Hiccup raised an eyebrow and said, stretching his arms and yawning to get their attention, "Well, I'm done in here. Who wants to go to the Great Hall?"
"Oh, me, totally me!" Tuffnut said, kicking Snotlout off of him with effort before hurrying after Ruffnut and running into her in his haste.
"Yeah, this was lame anyway," Snotlout said.
Fishlegs patted Tonna's head almost affectionately. "She needs some rest."
The two of them headed away, leaving Astrid to lean her folded arms on the table where Tonna was and ask, "Are you going to watch Tonna while she rests, Hiccup?"
"Nah," Hiccup said after a moment. He nodded to his watchful dragon, who peeked out at him from beneath his dark wings, one of his shining bright eyes looking at him. "I'll leave Toothless here. He'll make sure nothing happens to her."
Astrid nodded and Hiccup followed her, peeking over his shoulder only once at the two animals. He felt a certain sense of relief at doing so.
Tonna greatly improved over the next few days. She stayed away from the rest of the sheep and the pasture and stayed in the smithy, being watched by Gobber when Hiccup was out with his friends and Toothless. At every opportunity, though, the boy would go and check on the ewe, who would let out a "hello" bleat every time he came around. That itself touched him more than he could say, and he told nobody that his presence was acknowledged by an ewe. They would think him weirder than normal.
Then, finally, Hiccup came over and checked her leg. It looked remarkably better, and so he gently set the ewe onto the ground, holding her up as she wobbly stood.
"'Ow is she?" Gobber asked, sounding a bit interested as he banged away at a sword.
Hiccup didn't answer him for a moment. He gently let go of the ewe, and she stood quite still. She didn't fall over. She looked up at Hiccup, who wasn't smiling yet, but offered her a bit of grass. Her eyes widened ever-so-slightly, and she stepped forward, bleating for the grass.
Gobber watched as Hiccup backed up, holding the grass just within inches of Tonna's mouth. She didn't grow impatient or angry at him at all, for all her world was centered around that bunch of grass in his freckled hand, and so she only concentrated on that as she took five steps, all without stumbling, all with barely noticing her new leg.
"Brilliant," Gobber said under his breath.
Hiccup smiled and beckoned to Tonna, saying, "C'mon. Let's go show my dad."
It was a blustery day that day. Stoick was leaning against the fence of his sheep pen, watching the steady line of sheep heading into it, when he heard something, and he turned, surprised, to see his son watching an ewe next to him walking. On the other side of the ewe was Toothless, walking on his four legs, watching the old ewe from a little distance, wary of the importance of it.
Neither father nor son said a word as Tonna entered the pen along with the others. Toothless nudged the door of the pen back into place. Stoick locked it and the two Haddocks and Toothless watched from behind the fence, leaning against it, as the old ewe bleated and joined the other sheep in monotonously eating grass.
After a moment, Stoick nodded. And smiled. "Good job, son."
Hiccup nodded, leaning his head against his folded arms. The ewe would survive. And live. Just what he wanted. His mother would have wanted it, too.
Thanks for reading! Sorry for the weirdness of the story! God bless you!