Hiccup pulled on some jeans and an old shirt, not caring much about his appearance at the moment. After giving his teeth a good brush, he finally managed to join Astrid and her father in the living room, the air seemed to be light. He supposed that the news was good by the look on their faces and the way Astrid took his hand eagerly to lead him down the hallway and to her mother's room.
When they entered the room, Gyda was still laying in the bed. She had bags under her eyes, but compared to how she had looked a day ago she looked like youth had found her again.
Hiccup waited for Astrid to say her hellos first and the exchange was heartwarming. He had a small smile on his face the entire time. When their affections gave pause, Gyda reached her arms out towards Hiccup so that he could lean over and embrace her as well.
"There's the son I never had," she said fondly as he pulled away, making him smile a bit wider.
Astrid smiled and nodded as Hiccup indicated that he wouldn’t be far behind her if she went ahead. She knew he didn’t want to hold her back or stop her from finding out if her mother was okay and sooner. Although she had a better night sleep, that didn’t mean that she hadn’t stopped thinking about Gyda. Ever since she found out about her, whenever she did sleep, she dreamt of her.
Astrid moved out of her bedroom and into the living room where she was sure that she would find Haldir or Gothi at the very least unless they were both with Gyda. When she arrived in the living room she found her father sitting with a newspaper, reading comfortably and happily it seemed. He looked up from where he was reading and smiled towards her.
“Good morning sweetheart.” He said with a tone that suggested that everything seemed okay now. “Your mother has been asking for you and Hiccup.” He said with a smile and watched as her own smile began to form with the news. That was when she waited for Hiccup to join them but the second he did, she took hold of his hand and led him straight upstairs to Gyda’s room.
Hiccup smiled just a bit when Astrid thanked him. "You should really be thanking Fishlegs and the others... it was his idea and they helped him search for herbs."
That night, Hiccup slept better knowing that Astrid was sleeping soundly. In fact he slept so well that she rose before him which was not very usual. When she moved to get out of bed and to dress, he stirred slightly until he opened his eyes, blinking a few times.
She seemed eager and happy and Hiccup loved the smile on her face... "you go on ahead," he told her softly, sitting up and rubbing his eyes. "I'll be right behind you."
After she left, he climbed out of bed and dressed himself, wondering if Gyda would be awake that day or not... he sincerely hoped so. Soon after, he headed downstairs after Astrid, stifling a yawn and listening for any clue as to what state her mother was in.
After a minute of having Haldir’s arns around her she found herself sitting back on the sofa with Hiccup placed her hand on top of his now that is rested on the sofa nearby where she sat back down. Soon enough Haldir left to two alone again and she turned to Hiccup was a smile.
“Thank you.” She said simply, knowing that he had some involvment in the potential of her mother feeling better. That night she slept a little better and she remained in Hiccup’s embrace again for most of the night. This was until she woke in the morning and she could barely contain herself when it came to visiting her mother. She wanted nothing more than to see if the ancient formula had allowed her mother to overcome an illness that nothing else appeared to work on.
“Are you coming?” She asked towards Hiccup as she pulled on her clothes for the day, seeming a little more cheerful than she had in the last couple of days.
When Astrid's breathing finally deepened, Hiccup felt like he could breathe himself, finally. He wouldn't trade a single moment of worrying about Astrid for anything, but he needed a break as well. He closed his eyes and let himself drift off to sleep as well, knowing that if anything was worth telling, they would be woken up.
After a couple hours, just this happened. Hiccup heard Haldir speaking and his low voice roused him from his sleep. He came into the living room with Gothi in tow and Hiccup rubbed Astrid's arms until she was awake to hear the news. He announced that there had indeed been some improvement due to the medicine Gothi gave her and it felt as if the entire room had sighed out with relief. There was a chance again. Hiccup pressed his face into Astrid's back, the relief causing his eyes to water.
"Everyone..." Haldir started, looking around the room at the tired faces of Hiccup and his father and Astrid. "We should all go get some rest now. Gothi says she might come round by morning."
Astrid smiled affectionately towards Hiccup as he squeezed her hand and she allowed her free hand to join it. For the next few hours she waited in the living room after Gothi confirmed that she had managed to give the medicine to her mother and she had to fight with herself to stay put in the living room. As much as she wanted to be with her mother, Haldir needed to be by his wife’s side now and she could only hope for the best.
The entire time they sat in that room Hiccup never once left her side, keeping her arms wrapped tightly around her to comfort her from the pain she was feeling. Eventually they ended up laying down on the sofa and withiugh even realising it, Astrid had fallen asleep in his arms. It was so clear that she needed the rest because her body simply shut down for the next couple of hours.
She didn’t wake up until Haldir and Gothi came back into the room to update them and the only reason she woke up was because Hiccup had to wake her gently, knowing that she would want to learn of her mother’s progress.
“I don’t know that Gothi gave her but there is some improvement.” For the first time in the last few days Haldir seemed hopefully and she couldn’t stop herself from getting up and throwing her arms around her father.
Hiccup reached for her hand and squeezed softly. He hoped with everything he had that this would work. He couldn't stand to think about Astrid losing her mother. About Gyda passing away due to some freak sickness and never being able to call her mother-in-law.
Over the past few years, the two of them had become almost as close as Astrid and Valka. Gyda already joked that he was her son, no wedding necessary. To lose her now...
They watched as Gothi moved from her place in the kitchen where she was mixing the herbs to the bedroom where Gyda lay. The trick would be getting her to drink it, but Gothi had her ways. When she returned, she motioned to her wrist that now all they had to do was wait to see if it would air her in any way. Haldir stayed in the room with her while the rest of the them remained in the living room, just to give her some breathing room.
Hiccup wrapped his arms around Astrid and they sat there for about an hour. Over the course of time, they slowly slouched down the couch so that they were laying there together. Hiccup kept his arms around her, smelled her hair from behind... He wished the herbs would work quicker. But in the meantime, maybe if he ran soothing circles over Astrid's back, she might just get an hour or two of sleep...
That night he insisted that she should go to bed early and he guarded her throughout the night making sure that she didn’t attempt to leave so she gave in and allowed herself to shut down just for night but even as the next few days passed she was feeling more and more hopeless and she was almost positive that her mother would die any day now. It was just a waiting game. A game that no one enjoyed being a part of.
Haldir spent time with his wife when Astrid needed a break but she spent as much time as she could with her to the point that she had a vacant stare for most of her interactions now. It was so unlike Astrid to completely shut herself off but thoughts that she could not control crept across her mind. She kept thinking that if she stuck to her plan and went to medical school, she would be able to help her. Maybe she would have been able to make her better but her fact of the matter was, she chose the island. She never seemed to regret that decision until now.
On the morning of Fishleg’s arrival she found herself staring at the wall in the living room thinking about nothing in particular. It wasn’t until Hiccup came and sat next to her that she even registered that there might be someone else in the room but he had some news that could potentially change her mood. She replied in a low voice so that no one else could hear but for the first time there was an ounce of hope.
“If anything is likely to work it would be this. We have used so many things for those ancient texts that have proven to work but if it doesn’t I think we have to accept that nothing will.”
Hiccup continued to hold her close, rocking her back and forth gently. He ran his hand down the back of her hair and kept his cheek pressed to the top of her head. "I know," he said softly. He wasn't one to give false promises, and he wasn't about to start now. All he could do was be there for her.
Despite everything, he knew all too well what it felt like to lose a mother. It didnt matter if they had discovered she was alive. He had gone through the motions and the grieving like anyone else. And if Astrid was about to go through the same thing... then he would not leave her side.
Finally, he kissed the top of her head before turning back to the food before it started to burn. He started to serve up some plates for everyone and he made sure that Astrid ate. That night, he put her to bed early, insisting she try to get some sleep. He didn't stay from her side.
Two days passed with no news from either Gothi or Fishlegs. And then on the third day Hiccup caught sight of the boat on the horizon. He met with Fishlegs and together they brought Gothi the ingredients when no one else was around. They still didn't understand how she was so okay with using these herbs she had never heard of before but they weren't about to start asking Gothi about her strange ways.
She set to mixing them up and the boys left. It was time to tell Astrid... now that Fishlegs had made it back with all the items they needed.
He found her in the living room with the blank look on her face that she had most of the time now. He sat beside her and spoke softly so that no one else could hear where this potion of sorts had come from. He told her about Fishleg's research and how it might be their last chance...
Astrid hated feeling so emotional and she hated expressing her emotions in this way more but with Hiccup she never seemed to mind. She could share everything with him and that was one of the amazing parts of their relationship. She truly had no idea what she would do without him. Within a matter of seconds he was pulling her into an embrace and he allowed her to cry into his chest.
It took her a few minutes to calm herself down. When she finally pulled back to look up at him her eyes were red from the tears. “I don’t know Hiccup, she is getting worse.” She sniffed and used her hand to wipe at her eyes. “I thought we had all the time in the world. She was fine when we were last here and we joked about the fact that we had at least another twenty years to get married.” Astrid shook her head again and put her head back on his chest. “I don’t know how I’m going to cope if we lose her.”
Hiccup watched her with worried eyes as she spoke about her sleeping habits of late. He knew she hadn't been getting much and he had lost sleep worrying about her. "I know... but still. You need your rest," he reminded her, knowing it was hypocritical of him to say so.
There was a silence that stretched several minutes and her hand found his. The next words she spoke broke Hiccup's heart just to hear. Astrid had always been so headstrong and hopeful... and now that seemed to wither away. Hiccup sighed softly, wrapping his arms around her and pulled her close. He felt her tears soak through his shirt.
"Shh," he whispered softly, running a hand up and down her back. "You don't know that." It was just a reminder that nothing was certain. And he willed the others on the island silently to please hurry...
She laughed and nodded. “It’s fine Hiccup. Thank you.” Astrid took hold of the spoon and continued to work with the food where Hiccup had left off and started to taste things and added seasoning where necessary. It was something that helped to take her mind off of things, especially since she was not much use simply sitting at her mother’s bedside.
She looked up towards Hiccupas he spoke about Fishlegs. He was keeping something from her but she wasn’t sure what it was, nor did she have the energy to ask him. Astrid turned her attention back to the food and let out a sigh when she asked about her sleeping. “Depends on what you mean. I think I fell asleep for half an hour earlier.” She fiddled with a few things and then turned to him. “I know what you are going to say but you hardly listened when it was me lying in the bed four years ago.” She said with a small smile and placed her hand in his but after a minute her smile disappeared. “I don’t think she is going to make it Hiccup.” Her voice was almost a whisper then. “Mom isn’t going to be here to see us get married.” She said as tears began to fill her eyes.
Hiccup made his way back inside, trying hard not to let his heart fill with hope that this news. He couldn't decide if the fact that this potion came from ancient texts meant it was more or less likely to work. Whatever the case may be, he would wait until after they had given it to Gothi to tell Astrid about it. And yet he found hiding anything from her to be difficult...
He found himself back in the kitchen, taking back over the cooking as Haldir went to speak with Stoick in the other room. When Astrid approached him, the small smile she gave him was enough to get him through.
"Only if you want to." He didn't want her cooking unless it helped get her mind off her mother. "I hope you're alright with mac and cheese. Again." She reached for the spoon and he let her take over as she asked him more questions. He nodded. "Yeah, everything is fine. He just... wanted to give me an update." It was the best he could do without completely giving himself away. Astrid could always tell when he was lying, anyway. So if he kept it vague enough... it wasn't exactly lying.
He looked at Astrid's profile as she worked for a long moment before sighing. "When's the last time you slept?"
She hated feeling like this. The feeling that she felt all those years ago when it was her lying in that bed instead of her mother. She felt so helpless then and she felt the same way now but she still would have done anything to be able to change places with her. On the fourth day since their return from Berk she had been told that she had to ‘take the day off’ from visiting her mother and even though she had tried to fight it, Gothi was more than convincing when she needed to be.
Astrid had been so hopeful that things might start looking up for Gyda over the past couple of days but the truth was that her condition was slowly worsening. The time that Gyda spent awake was decreasing and when she was awake it took her so much energy to be able to talk or eat. All she could really do now was look after her mother when she could and prepare herself for the worst.
She never thought she would have to go through this, especially not now when everything in her life has fallen comfortably into place. Especially now that she had found a happiness that she thought could never be broken. She wasn’t sure how she would cope if she lost Gyda and she wasn’t sure she wanted to think about it, even if she was trying to prepare herself for the worst possible outcome.
Hiccup returned from a shop and placed a kiss on her cheek when he did but she barely responded. He was going to make food for her since she still wasn’t eating enough and he was worried that she was going to make herself sick in the process of trying to care for her mother.
Haldir spent a lot of his time with Stoick when he wasn’t with Gyda and that seemed to help him a little bit. They seemed to have developed and even closer friendship lately and she was glad that he had someone beside her to rely on.
Astrid let out a sigh and made her way into the kitchen when Fishlegs left. She had heard his voice but she couldn’t hear anything he was saying but she also couldn’t face the sympathetic look he would give her so she had waited for his departure. She looked over towards Hiccup and smiled softly, trying not to think about her mother for a moment. “Need any help?” She asked as she moved to his side and looked around at whatever it was he was preparing for food. “How was Fishlegs? Is our island still in tact?” She tried to find humour in what she said but she could barely muster the energy.
Hiccup stayed by Astrid's side most of the time. He got her water and food and made sure she ate. The last thing he wanted was for her to wither away much like he did years ago when she was injured herself.
After Gothi kicked her out on day three, Hiccup suggested she actually eat something rather than just snack. On day four, things took a turn for the worse. Gothi seemed worried and Gyda was waking up less often than usual.
Every knew it, but no one spoke the words... It was probably going to happen soon...
Hiccup had gone to the store to grab a few things for the Hoffersons. He was lugging the paper bag back towards their house when he noticed the boat on the horizon. He didn't have his spyglass on him, so he couldn't see who it was, but someone was headed back towards Berk from the island.
He dropped the things off at the house, giving Astrid a kiss on the cheek just to let her know that he was still there for her. It was only as he started on dinner that there was a knock on the door. Haldir answered it and Fishlegs came inside, wide eyed and eager looking. "Hiccup! Hiccup!"
Hiccup stopped stirring and turned to their new guest. Haldir took over the cooking as Hiccup frowned at Fishlegs. "What are you doing here?"
Fishlegs grabbed his sleeve and dragged him towards the front door. Once it was closed, he held out a piece of paper with words scribbled on it like a list. "You know how your mom let me use the library the one time she let us visit?"
Hiccup sighed and folded his arms. "Fishlegs, this isn't exactly time for new Dragon news."
"No, Hiccup... Look!" He held out the piece of paper. Hiccup took it and scanned the list. "I was going through my notes on all the flora and fauna on the islands. Some of them have never even been seen on Berk before!"
"Fishlegs." Hiccup sounded like a troubled father. "Gyda is [i dying.]"
Fishleg's eyes widened. "I know! I'm sorry Hiccup, I should have said! This is a healing potion! It's in several of the ancient texts. Said to have cured flues and fevers and all sorts of illnesses. We just have to find the right ingredients. And... if it doesn't work, then... we can't say we didn't try anything."
Hiccup looked over the paper once more and sighed. "How... how are we going to explain this potion to everyone even if we [i can] find everything?"
There was a slow creak and they both turned to see Gothi emerge. Both men looked at each other like they had been caught talking about something illegal. Gothi grabbed the paper from Hiccup's hand, scanned it with her eyes, then took out her pen. She scribbled something down, handed it back, then walked back inside.
Hiccup looked at the new writing. [i No one will ask what is in it if it is from my hand.]
Hiccup looked up and Fishlegs and finally nodded, giving the list back to him. "Get Snotlout and the twins to help scour the island for any of these plants. You're the only one who knows what they look like... so please..."
"They've already started. It's alright, Hiccup. I got this. You stay here with Astrid and we'll be back as soon as we can." Without missing a beat, Fishlegs turned and walked away, heading back down to the boat. Hiccup's heart was a little warmer that night knowing their friends cared so much...
He didn't tell Astrid about this plan, however. On the off chance that it failed, the last thing he wanted was for her to get her hopes up...
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