Hiccup caught up easily with his father. Stoick attempted to pet Toothless who sniffed at him curiously. The man was still obviously unsure about dragons.
He only half listened to his father, though. He knew that Berk was the same. So while Stoick droned on about Gobber and the others he could hear his mother talking to Astrid.
"I... I don't know, Astrid," he could hear her saying. "Just because Stoick knows now... doesn't mean it's going to be easy to tell the rest of Berk. My... life is here. Protecting dragons is what I was meant to do." She sighed softly and Hiccup pretended to be listening to his father still. "I need to speak with him. We... haven't had much time to..." If he was looking he would have seen his mother's eyes dart over to his father's figure. "I knew he would look older, but... His eyes look sad. I- He shouldn't know about me. But... I'm glad he does."
Hiccup swallowed softly and turned his attention back to his father and studied his face as he spoke. He was glad that she could see what he had for all these years...
Even though Hiccup was the one that was hurt he still tried to comfort her and he succeeded all too easily. If that wasn’t proof enough that they were perfect for each other she was sure there never would be any. Astrid turned back to Hiccup when she saw his parents walk in and decided to quickly explain what Stoick was still doing here.
“He wanted to come back with me so he went home just to explain his absence. He’s going to be staying a little while longer.” She whispered just before his mother approached and started fussing over him sitting up. She was reminded of the time that Hiccup did the same with her after she had her accident and raised her eyebrow as if to say at least he knew what it felt like now.
When she finished fussing over Hiccup, Valka turned to her and pulled her into a hug as Stoick positioned himself on the chair next to the bed.
“Berk is...well it’s Berk son. Everything is fine. Gothi and Gobber are going to make sure things run smoothly while I’m here.” He seemed to glance over in Valka’s direction and she tried to figure out what was going on there. Surely she couldn’t deny him after all these years. She knew that if she were in the same position she would not hesitate to run back into Hiccup’s arms.
She looked over at Valka. “Does this mean you will be at our wedding?” She whispered not wanting to draw too much attention to their conversation while Hiccup and Stoick caught up on matters.
Hiccup laced his fingers through hers, all too happy to have her beside him again. He leaned into her kiss on his forehead before looking her in the eyes as she checked out the bruising around his own. He sighed softly as she started to worry over him and his thumb worked circles on the back of her hand to soothe her.
"I'm alright, Astrid. I promise." Her next statement had him smiling again and he nodded. "Yeah... But I don't regret a second of it," he admitted, bringing her hand to his lips to kiss her knuckles softly.
When there was a knock at the door and his parents found their way inside Hiccup felt his heart well up. They were standing there. [i Together.] He couldn't get over it.
"What did I tell you about sitting up?" Valka rushed forward, starting to fuss about, getting him a pillow to lean against.
"I was going crazy, Mom. I had to move."
The woman let out a deep sigh before turning to Astrid to give her a welcoming hug. Stoick approached Hiccup and sat in the nearby chair and almost jumped out of his skin when Toothless came up from behind him to sniff at him. Hiccup couldn't help but laugh. There was a lot that his dad still had to get used to.
"How is everything back on Berk?" Hiccup asked.
Astrid smiled at his reaction to her and stood next to the bed, taking his hand in her own. “It’s good to see you awake again.” She let out a sigh and took in his appearance and shook her head towards him. “You had us all so worried.” She pressed her lips against his temple and used her free hand to take his cheek, looking at the brusing around his eye.
“How are you feeling? Is your shoulder alright?” Astrid was ok too keen to check on it herself but she knew that Valka would have spent time making sure that it was clean and healing nicely. She chewed the inside of her lip and sighed once more. “When we decided to find adventure away from Berk I never thought that our lives would be at risk this much.” After reflection she realised that both of them had almost died and found themselves injured or in danger more times than they could count.
Before she could say anything else there was a knock at the door and Stoick appeared from behind it, with Valka not too far behind him. “Son, you’re awake!”
Hiccup couldn't remember sleeping so much in his life. Between his long naps he would beg his mother to explain who their attackers were, but she just told him "later" and made him eat some lukewarm soup. He wished it was hot, but she wanted to be as careful as possible since he was throwing up blood only days earlier. After he ate, Valka sent him right back to sleep which was easier than he thought.
It was only on the fourth day of his recovery that he was finally sick of sleeping. Against his mother's wishes he sat up in bed, back against the headboard. His bruises looked worse, but that just meant they were healing. His eye was no longer bruised shut and only had a black and blue ring around it. Hiccup was used to bruises. It was his right shoulder that gave him most of the trouble now that the poison was out of his system.
He rubbed at it with a furrowed brow before reaching over to find his sketchbook. This was the part where he started to get bored...
Not fifteen minutes later and his door opened to reveal Astrid. As soon as he saw her, his mouth opened into a wide grin. Despite being asleep most of the time she was gone, it was like he could still feel her absence. "Hello, M'lady," he said tiredly, marking his place with his pencil and setting his journal aside.
Hiccup spent the next few days drifting in and out of sleep. He needed to time to get over the poison and whatever concoction was given to him by Gothi. She used this time to take Gothi and Stoick back to Berk, especially now that Gothi has managed to treat the Protectors who had not managed to avoid getting posioned. She had expected to be returning back to the island alone but Stoick had decided to let the people of Berk know hat he would be spending some time on the island with his son.
It took some time to convince Astrid’s parents that they couldn’t come too, making up an excuse that they didn’t have space but maybe they could visit at some point in the future which they seemed to accept. While they had been there she also told them the news about the wedding and that definitely helped soften the disappointment they felt at not being able to go to their island. Her mother demanded that she return soon so that they could start shopping for a wedding dress and she promised that when Stoick came back from the island she would be with him and ready to try and find a dress. The thought terrified her but they had time for her to get used to the idea.
When they returned to the island, Stoick went to find Valka and Astrid went back to their room where she found Hiccup surprisingly awake. She smiled softly towards him and neared the bed. “Well hello there sleepy head.”
Just before he drifted off completely he felt Astrid's lips on his cheek. Whatever was in the medicine Gothi had given him must have also contained some kind of painkiller because he felt so content in that moment. Like a peaceful, napping child. When her lips left him, he felt her form leave the bed and a much heavier one take her place. Toothless curled around him, his tail resting across his legs protectively. By now Hiccup was mostly asleep but he still had the instinct to lean into his best friend's comforting form.
If Hiccup had been awake at that point he might have heard his father's understanding and forgiving voice. Then his excited laughter. He might have seen the way he reached out to hug Astrid tighter than ever before. But he had drifted into the deepest sleep he'd had since he was first injured. He heard and felt nothing. And he felt safe...
Eventually, Hiccup seemed to rouse from his sleep and the moment he started to stir she moved from her position slightly. Over time she had come to lay next to him but now that he was seeming to wake up, she sat up and looked him over. When his eyes landed on hers she let out a relieved sigh and smiled. When he coughed she couldn’t help but panic a little, half expecting to see the blood that had been present after his coughing earlier but there seemed to be no sign of it now, suggesting that whatever Gothi had given him seemed to work.
She didn’t say anything to him at first, wanting him to adjust for a minute. She didn’t know how he was going to react to seeing both his parents standing before her. Valka hadn’t really expressed how she felt about having Stoick here but she was sure when the chaos had calmed, she would be angry with Astrid for bringing Stoick here but it wasn’t as though she had a choice in the matter. “Welcome back.” She said with a smile, running a finger down his cheek.
It wasn’t long before his parents were making their way towards the bed now that they had seen him wake up. Astrid remained where she was while they exchanged conversation and soon enough Valka was leaving to take care of her Protectors. Astrid smiled down at his tired expression and kissed his cheek just as he started to drift.
Astrid climbed off the bed and Toothless took her place the moment she did. She laughed at the way he curled himself around Hiccup as she made her way to Stoick. “I...I am so sorry we didn’t tell you Stoick. You have no idea how much we wanted to tell you that Valka was still alive but...she was so adamant that you couldn’t know and I think Hiccup was a scared of losing her again.”
Stoick placed his hands on her shoulders and offered her a reassuring smile. “It wasn’t your decision to make. It was hers. I don’t blame you.” Hearing him say that filled her with relief and she closed her arms around him, offering him a quick embrace before pulling back with a smile.
“Hiccup and I have decided that we are going to get married. A year from now.”
Once more, Hiccup was in that in-between state of being unconscious and yet able to feel and hear everything in the room. He could hear Astrid whispering for him to pull through. That he had to because they were supposed to get married. He could hear Gothi's staff on the floor as she waddle about before mixing more of the stuff she had given him, most likely for the other suffering from the same affliction. He could hear his mother's voice. And his fathers. Deep and low and comforting. It took him a long time to realize why it was so strange to hear their voices in the same room. That thought alone pulled him out of his dream-like state.
His eyes opened again and they searched for Astrid who was nearest to him. He let out a few small coughs, but this time blood did not accompany them. When his eyes wandered to the rest of the room, he found Gothi in the corner working away. And then his parents.
"Hiccup!" they exclaimed in unison and both rushed forward to see how he was doing now that he was awake.
"D-dad?" was all he managed to choke out, finally understanding what was going on. He looked to his mother with a worried expression. She let out an exhausted half-laugh. As if this was the last thing he needed to be worried about.
"Just rest. Your mother told me everything," Stoick told him, reaching out a hand to rest on his arm. There was something significantly more gentle about Stoick when he was around Valka. Hiccup had almost forgotten that...
"How do you feel?" Valka asked softly, moving the hair from his face.
"Like... I've been hit by a bus..." That made them laugh at least, even though it was a sad laugh. He coughed a few more times, but the sheets did not come away covered in blood.
"That has stopped at least..."
"We owe Gothi the best Christmas present of her life this year," Stoick managed to joke.
"A vacation?" Hiccup joked back, actually managing a smile before wincing.
Valka chuckled but laid her hand on his chest. "Rest now. Sleep if you can. Now that I know that you're- Well I need to help my people." She stood slowly, offering Stoick a lingering glance that held something Hiccup couldn't pinpoint. Was she happy he was here or not? She wasn't exploding like he thought she might... Or maybe she was simply keeping her cool in front of him so that he wouldn't stress in his state. After a moment she left with Gothi and Hiccup found his eyes slowly closing once more.
Upon entering the room Astrid was filled with nerves for two reasons. One was that she was unsure what kind of state they would find Hiccup in and two was because she had gone against Valka’s wishes and Stoick would now know that she was alive. Yet, when he entered the room there was silence between them followed by one of the most heartwarming intimate moments she had ever witness. A part of her was sad that Hiccup would have missed the reunion of them but he would just be glad that they no longer had to keep secrets from him.
Astrid swallowed heard and looked away so that she wasn’t gawking at them the entire time. Gothic seemed to accept everything in her stride and instantly got to work, working around the newly united couple and Astrid. A younger version of herself would have wanted to be right there by Hiccup’s side and refuse to leave but she knew that Gothi needed the space to work around him and once she was done she would go to him and not leave until he woke up again.
Astrid started to pace nervously again, occasionally glancing up at Hiccup and towards Stoick and Valka. She wished that their reunion had come under happier circumstances but there was nothing they could do about that now. She had hoped that they found each other again because their son was getting married and if was right for them both to be there, but now Astrid couldn’t help but worry about whether there would be a wedding; whether Hiccup would make it.
When Gothi indicated that she had done all she could and made sure he swallowed the mixture she had made Astrid moved to the bed, climbing up onto it next to him. She took his hand in hers and leaned down to kiss his forehead. “Come on...please work. You’re not allowed to leave me. We promised each other we would get married.” Astrid held back the tears just like she had from the moment she saw him with the arrow in his arm and just prayed that this concoction would get to work quickly. So much had happened in the last month or so. They had nearly lost her mother and no she was at risk of losing Hiccup too. So many things had made them both question why they had waited so long to finally tie the knot and now she was beginning to wonder if they had wasted too much time.
It was starting to feel like an eternity even though it had scarcely been an hour. Hiccup's coughing had progressed to bloody vomit and Valka felt transported back in time to when she was staying home catching her son's puke in a bucket when he was just a child. But this time he wasn't a child. And this time it wasn't a small illness.
"I know, darling," she whispered to him softly, setting the bucket down as she helped him lean back against the pillows, wary of his injuries. She tried to ignore her worries and focus on making him as comfortable as possible for now, but they still managed to find a way into the front of her mind.
She knew that Gothi possessed ancient knowledge. Somehow, someway, she knew more than she let on. But what if this was too much? What if Stormfly frightened her? What if she didn't know how to treat this? What if she was about to lose her son for the second time?
Tears welled up in her eyes as she bent over Hiccup's half-conscious body. "You stay with me, alright?" she whispered softly, begging not only him, but the gods to allow him to remain with her. He was too young. Far too young...
Every now and then they would bring in another potion for him to try, but nothing worked. He would just throw it back up again. Eventually it started to do more harm than good and she called it off. She just wanted Gothi's opinion now... If Hiccup could just sleep... Even for a moment...
After what felt like years, she finally heard the sound of Astrid's voice. She stood up, hoping to greet Gothi. To explain herself quickly and to get her to work. If she was anything like she remembered, she would accept her with ease.
Gothi was there when she looked up, true enough, but someone else was there as well. Someone she had [i not] expected. She stood abruptly and for a long moment they simply stared at each other in silence.
And then Stoick took a slow step forward. Though it was quiet, it broke the silence. He couldn't seem to utter a word. With a few more slow steps he closed the distance between him, laying a large hand on her cheek, tears in his eyes. "Val...?"
Valka was sure that he was going to yell or scream or throw something. But his hand was tender on her cheek and she couldn't help herself but lean into it. She had promised herself that this day would never come. She had told herself that even if it did, she would never give into that face again... and yet here she was.
She tore her eyes away from him and looked down at her son. [i Their] son. "This is all my fault. I never should have let him come here. I never should have told him I was alive."
Somewhere in the midst of this conversation Gothi had made her way toward Hiccup to examine him and the residue in the bowls they had been trying to treat him with. She got to work, accepting this news all too easily...
[center * * *]
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/ULb611r.jpg]] As Stoick comforted Valka in a way that seemed to be out of character to everyone watching except for the two involved, Hiccup was starting to stir mostly because Gothi was poking around and rousing him.
He coughed hard a few more times before peeling his eye open to see Gothi unzipping her bag and starting to miz several herbs together in a small bowl. Over her head he could just make out the firey red mane of his father, but in his groggy state he didn't think anything of it...
He closed his eyes again, wanting sleep to take him again, but he was interrupted when Gothi's concoction was being poured down his throat. She shut his mouth and he started coughing for a whole different reason as she made sure he swallowed it.
Just as she thought they were about to get some answers, something stopped them. At first, she thought that Hiccup was simply coughing but when the sheets were pulled away from him and she saw the blood she exchanged a look with Valka. It was not normal for someone to cough up blood unless there was something wrong, usually some kind of internal bleeding or an illness of some kind. Perhaps Hiccup had done more damage under the surface than they had realised. Astrid wished that there was something she could do to help him, to stop the look of panic upon his face but there was nothing she could do in the time before someone came bursting into the room. It was obvious from his distressed look that there was an urgency to his intrusion and at least his presence seemed to offer them some answers.
Astrid looked down at Hiccup with a new worry in her eyes. He had been poisoned by the arrow and there did not seem to be anything that could cure it here on the island. As much as she did not want to leave him, the moment that Valka mentioned Gothi she knew that she had to go. They really didn’t know much about the poison. They didn’t know if it would simply make them sick or whether it might eventually kill people but the one thing she knew was the she was [I not] going to let Hiccup or anyone else die because Valka wanted to keep the island or the dragons a secret but then, even she was realising that there were more important things at stake here.
Astrid nodded and made her way to Stormfly, not wanting to waste a single minute. She could have taken the boat but it would have taken her hours to get back to their island and get on the boat, it was quicker and easier to fly straight to Berk. Luckily it was getting dark out and by the time they reached Berk it was even darker. Every minute she spent in the sky she replayed images of Hiccup coughing up blood. There had been so much of it. Astrid shut her eyes for a minute to try and block out the image and when she opened them again, Berk was already in sight and she was heading straight for the hill where Astrid and Hiccup spent a lot of their time when they were here. It was the safest place to leave Stormfly because not many people knew about that spot and it meant that she didn’t risk exposing her to anyone other than Gothi.
The moment she climbed down from Stormfly she let out a sigh and ran her hand across her nose. “You need to stay here. I won’t be long but please, don’t move.” She said softly before rushing off down the hill. Her first instinct was to run straight to Stoick and at first, that it exactly where her feet carried her at great speed. In her mind he deserved to know that Hiccup had been poisoned; he deserved to be there but as she arrived at his door step she noticed that there were no lights on. A part of her was relieved because now she had a minute to think she [I couldn’t] tell Stoick. Valka had been so clear that she didn’t want him to know that she was still alive and while she hadn’t been thinking about what Valka wanted in that moment, she knew that she couldn’t betray her.
Astrid changed course quickly and head straight for Gothi’s café, knowing that was the place she was mostly likely to find her. It wasn’t too far away from Stoick’s house so she arrived in good time but she was already out of breath from running all over Berk and anyone could have seen the look of urgency upon her face as she entered the building. Normally she would take the time to look around and see who was there but there was only one person she was interested in and her eyes fell on her the instant she walked through the door.
“Gothi!” Her tone only echoed the urgency and Gothi looked at her with confusion, partly because she had no expected to see Astrid and partly because she looked scared, worried and desperate. “Gothi, you need to come with me. There’s something we need your help with and…”
“Astrid?” Her heart stopped the moment she heard Stoick’s voice. It was apparent that he had come to eat his dinner here and that explained why he had not been home. “Astrid, what’s the matter? Where is Hiccup?” Astrid turned around to look at him, stuck between telling Stoick the truth and lying to him. “What’s happened to my son Astrid?” He asked again, now showing a similar look of fear in his eyes.
“Stoick, we don’t have time to stand around here and chat. I need Gothi to come with me now.”
“Then I’m coming too.”
Astrid contemplated it for a moment, knowing that he already knew that something was wrong and that she could not argue with him. They were already wasting time and even if they had all the time in the world, Astrid could never lie to Stoick about his son. “Alright, but we need to go [I now.]” Not even Gothi had any questions in that moment, it seemed that all she needed was to know that someone needed her help. Astrid guided them back to the hill and before she got to the top she turned to Gothi and Stoick. She knew that Stoick knew that dragons existed but he had not exactly been accepting of them and Gothi…well, she was sure that she had never seen a dragon.
“Now, I need you to [I not] freak out okay? We can’t take a boat to where we are going. It’s not fast enough.” She said before taking a deep breath and leading them to where Stormfly was. She didn’t even give them a chance to say anything or react before she was climbed onto her back and holding out her hand to help the other two up. Soon enough they were back in the sky and making their way to the island without so much as a word exchanged between any of them. She was glad that she had risked taking Stormfly back to Berk because it was not too long before they were arriving back at the island and landing close to the entrance.
Astrid climbed off and helped them both down and looked over their expressions. “I know I haven’t given you much of an explanation and I know [I this] is a lot to take in,” she said gesturing towards Stormfly, “but there are people, including Hiccup, who have been poisoned and she said that Gothi was the only person who could help.”
“Who?” Stoick asked with a furrowed brow.
“I don’t have time to explain. I don’t know how quick this poison works. Follow me.” With that she led them both to the bedroom where they would find Hiccup and Valka. A very much alive Valka.
"It's my fault," Valka started and Hiccup wished he had the energy to argue with her. He had chosen to help. It was his and his alone. But as soon as he opened his mouth she shushed him once more. "You managed to get all the braziers lit, but they... managed to shoot you at the last one. Not many saw it happen, but they said you fell into a tree. You almost made it to the ground." There was a short pause. "The... arrow luckily didn't hit anything major... You'll have to rest your right arm for a while, though..."
Hiccup didn't have to ask his burning question, because Astrid asked it for him. He could hardly keep his eyes open, but he allowed them to find his mother's face again to hear her answer.
Valka sat quietly for a long moment before sighing softly. "I didn't think I [i needed] to tell you. I thought... they had long given up. But I guess we were wrong. They-"
Hiccup tried his best to not interrupt, but one moment he was as fine as a bruised, shot man could be, and the next, he was coughing so hard he thought his lungs might burst. They had removed his shirt to work on his wounds, so instead of a sleeve, he held the bed sheets up to cover his mouth. When his coughing fit was done and he pulled them away, he was so exhausted that he didn't even look. But Valka's eyes were wide and she reached over to touch her son's lips. Blood came away from them and he finally tasted it on his tongue. He looked down at the sheets and they were spattered with coughed up blood.
Hiccup was starting to panic now. His breathing grew faster. He was growing light headed. He looked from Valka to Astrid like they might have some kind of answer.
Just then there came a rapid knock at the door and a protector barged in despite orders not to. "Valka," he started, sounding worried. "Some of the others who have been injured or even just grazed by arrows... they're throwing up blood. They- they must have been poisoned. We've been giving them everything we can think of, but... nothing's been working so far."
Valka was a strong woman. And yet she looked on the verge of tears. "Keep trying!" she nearly shouted. "And bring everything you're trying here as well."
Hiccup was coughing again, going in and out of consciousness. He felt like such a child in that moment. All he wanted was his mother. He wanted her to stop yelling. He wanted her to soothe him again. He wanted her hand on his forehead. He wanted to be six years old again. Six years old with the flu. That's all this was... that's... all... this... was...
"We need Gothi..." was the last thing he remembered his mother saying... "She's the only one who might know how to mix the antidote."
Astrid was unsure how she felt the entire time she was waiting for him to wake up. She knew that he would be okay but that did not stop her from worrying, especially since his body had looked so battered and bruised. It would take some time for him to recover from this but she was just glad that he was safe and that he was alive after all. Toothless seemed to detect that Hiccup’s consciousness was returning because he seemed to calm down and moved to the opposite side of the bed to Valka and seemed to watch over him cautiously.
It wasn’t until she heard Valka’s voice try that she realised that Hiccup was waking up. From the moment, all the tension in her shoulders seemed to release and she found a breath escape her lips as though she hadn’t been able to breath properly for hours. She looked over to him trying to sit up to look for her but as soon as he did he may back down in the bed.
Astrid moves to Valka’s side and offered him a smile before Valka started to explain what had happened and why he was no laying in bed injured. This was the first time that Astrid had learned of what happened since they hadn’t really had the time to discuss it when they were trying to nurse him and she hadn’t wanted to ask while they were waiting for him to wake up.
“Who are they Valka? Why have you never told us about them before?”
Hiccup had experience something like this only one other time in his life. When they had recovered him from the ocean and he was bleeding out, he was somehow both completely gone from the world and yet completely able to understand everything happening to him as if through some foggy window. The entire trip to the mainland because even Gothi wasn't sure how to deal with a surprise amputation... he felt everything. Every touch and bump. And yet there was no pain. Initially due to shock. Then later due to anesthesia.
This time... there was pain. And plenty of it. To everyone else he might have looked as if sleeping. But he could feel everything. Every hand on every bruise and bloody scrape. Every bandage going on. And worst of all, every little tug at the arrow. It wasn't until he felt Astrid's familiar touch that his mind seemed to calm itself, forgetting the pain and just focusing on her hands. Sometime after that, what could have been a minute or an hour, he fully succumbed to the darkness pulling him under. He couldn't feel a thing...
Several hours later, Hiccup woke slowly. He made no movement at first. He thought that if he didn't move, perhaps he would wake up in his own bed back on the island with Astrid beside him and Toothless in the corner... When it was evident that that wasn't the case, he tried his best to simply take in the feeling of his mother's hand on his forehead, stroking his hair like he was a sick child once more.
When he finally decided to try opening his eyes, he discovered that one of them was still bruised and hardly wanted to obey. And just moving his head on the pillow caused him to wince and grit his teeth. He didn't want to see what the rest of him looked like...
He heard his mother gasp softly, her hand on his tightened slightly. "Shh, don't move..."
He found her face with his good eye. "A-astrid?" he asked hoarsely before fighting the pain to search the room. When he found her he melted back into the bed. Now that he was sure she was safe, he could relax. Except even that action had consequences. He winced once more and brought his scraped arm up to his bandaged shoulder. His brows knitted together. "Wh- what...?"
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