PAIRING: none, hiccup/toothless gen
SUMMARY: Hiccup has found a way to deal with his nightmares after the battle with the Red Death...
NOTES: Dreamwork & Cressida Cowell owns, I play. <3 Thanks to snarkyscorp for the beta! I've got a lot of stories in my mind, so I'm writing them down chronologically as a string of parts, I guess. I'm feeling like these could be read as stand-alones, or as a whole set <3
[ Winter l, Hibernation ]
Hiccup was in a free-fall.
That wasn't unusual these days–he and Toothless often found themselves diving dangerously toward the ocean, only to pull back at the last possible second and sail into the skies. But something was different this time... This time, Hiccup wasn't locked into Toothless' saddle; he wasn't on Toothless at all. He was falling backwards, alone, through blue sky and clouds. For a moment, it was serene and calm, but something exploded behind him, below him, and chaos erupted all around Hiccup. The blue sky was replaced by dark, acrid clouds of smoke, and the fires of Hell itself rose up from every side.
It was then that Hiccup saw Toothless above, diving, his wings working furiously and his yellow eyes mere slits as he concentrated on his desperate rescue mission. Hiccup tried to work his fingers, to reach out toward his dragon, but his muscles failed him. Flames leaped around him and singed his hair, clothes, and skin, while Toothless inched closer and closer... but then Toothless' eyes widened, he screeched and roared, and Hiccup turned his head just enough to see a piece of shrapnel hurtling toward him through the flames. It was jagged and sharp, like a severed piece of ancient dragon tooth. Oh. Perhaps it was a severed piece of ancient dragon tooth.
Hiccup looked up at Toothless, panic rising in his chest, and tried to shout his name, but his throat was choked with ash. He tried to twist and turn in the air, but his legs and arms ignored his attempts. Toothless was so close that Hiccup could feel the air from his massive wings as he flapped them but the hurtling tooth was closer. When it sliced clear through the flesh and bone of his left shin, he mused for a second that it didn't hurt as bad as he thought it should.
Toothless roared furiously above him, his legs almost close enough to wrap around Hiccup's body. He saw his own severed foot falling above him, saw his fur shoe ignite with fire, and somehow seeing that seemed to hurt more than the blood pumping from his leg. The fire closed in, eager to consume them both, and Hiccup was finally able to turn fully, just in time to see the stone ground rush far too quickly to meet his face--
Hiccup sat up with a jolt, his hands still out in front of him, grasping at empty air, his fringe matted to his forehead with sweat. His heart pounded so loudly in his ears that Thor himself would've been jealous of the thunderous sound. Hiccup gripped his chest and squeezed his eyes shut, focused on slowing his breathing. He wasn't falling to a fiery death among the bowls of the Red Death... he was at home, in Berk, in his bed... having another nightmare.
Hiccup scrubbed his face with the heels of his hands and looked around his bed, the room dark save for the last glowing embers of the fire in the main room just through the entryway. It was quiet, a stark contrast from the roar of fire he'd just heard in his dream, and he wondered–not for the first time–why his ears rang in the silence after these nightmares if they were, in fact just nightmares.
He pulled the tangled sheets from his legs and was about to shift out of bed when he remembered that there was one aspect to his nightmare that he never woke up from. One foot hit the cool wooden floor, but the other leg dangled helplessly over the edge of the bed, punctuated just below the knee by a metal cap he'd fashioned. It was strange. The nightmare was always the same, but the way he lost his foot always seemed different. Sometimes it was severed, sometimes it was burned, sometimes it was pulverized upon contact with the stone earth. All he knew of the reality of it was that it was gone by the time the other Vikings found him.
Hiccup gripped the edge of the bed and leaned over to feel around under his pillow for his metal foot. Gobber's had been good, but Hiccup couldn't help designing something a bit better, with less splinter potential. The first few nights he'd tried sleeping with Gobber's more permanent foot, he'd ripped gaping holes in his blankets as he tossed and turned. His new foot slid and locked onto a peg on the end of the metal leg cap–quick, easy, and removable. Hiccup turned the foot a quarter turn clock-wise and, once he felt it click into place, grabbed a thick wool blanket from his bed and made his way through the dark house.
Stoick snored loudly up in the loft; after the accident, Stoick began sleeping in Hiccup's loft and gave Hiccup his own quarters. One hard tumble down the stairs was all it took for Stoick to decide his son was no longer built for narrow stairs. Just one more notch in Hiccup's belt of Things He Couldn't Do. Aside from the living arrangements, the house was virtually unchanged... save for the door he'd recently built into the wall of the house. He opened it and walked into the addition he had been building off the side of their home for Toothless. Initially they let Toothless stay in the house, but one broken rafter, six burned furs, and three pulverized chairs later, he and his father quickly decided that a dragon was not an indoor pet. Designing and building the addition had been the perfect distraction for Hiccup, a reaffirmation of all the things he could do (and do well, at that), and as he stepped into the half-finished room he felt a sense of pride.
Having only finished the opposite wall and ceiling, heavy furs currently draped over both ends to keep out the winter cold. The ground was intentionally unfinished, just the existing soft earth and pebbles that Toothless could warm with his fire and nest upon. Hiccup even found a huge, thick branch from a fallen tree that he'd used as a main support and which doubled as an organic perch for Toothless to hang from. It had taken him and Toothless a full day to drag it halfway through the forest to his house. It'd taken his father approximately 23 minutes and 3 seconds to lug it over his shoulder and carry it through the remaining half.
Hiccup planned on finishing one end of the room with a full wall and a bit of wooden flooring where he wanted to make his own work space. The rest, however, was for Toothless, and Hiccup smiled when he saw his friend curled up and sleeping next to the fire pit, the embers still glowing red. After their foray into the volcano for hibernation season, Hiccup came home and set to work gathering stones for the fire pit in the center of the room, hoping it might feel a bit more like home for Toothless. He walked over to his dragon, Hiccup's metal foot landing heavily on the soil, and he saw one of Toothless' ears twitch just before he cracked one yellow eye open.
It had become an embarrassing ritual between them–Hiccup would have one of his nightmares and he would practically run to Toothless’ side; Toothless seemed to be the only thing that could calm Hiccup’s mind so he could sleep. He could only imagine what the other Vikings would say if they knew, which was just one reason why he was glad Toothless couldn’t talk; Hiccup could easily take his nightmares and fear to his grave. But unlike a typical Viking, Hiccup never once felt that Toothless judged him for his fear.
Hiccup reached out his hand, and when he spoke, his voice broke slightly.
"Hey, bud," Wingless said softly and Toothless felt the warmth from a small hand pressed to his wing. He made a sound deep in his throat at his human to greet him, and Wingless bared his teeth in what Toothless had come to learn was a friendly gesture from a human (when a dragon bared its teeth, it was a sign of a threat, but humans were odd and a bit backwards in their ways).
"I, uh..." He cleared his throat, "... the nightmare... again..."
At this Toothless opened both his eyes and lifted his head, looking intently at his human. Toothless felt the ghosts of fear still clinging to Wingless' heart, and he knew the little one had had another sleep terror. Toothless knew all too well how it felt, as sleep terrors haunted him still from the day they defeated the Red Death. In his, he saw Wingless falling into flame and he was never fast enough to reach his human before they were both devoured by the Darkness.
Wingless seemed to have terrors more often, and Toothless could always smell the palpable fear on him, could feel the way the terror haunted his mind. He immediately reached out and tried to soothe his mind, and he lifted his wing. Wingless knew the routine by now and immediately climbed under and curled against Toothless' belly. Toothless lowered his wing gently over both of them and breathed deeply. He preferred it this way. Before, the idea of sleeping with a human was ludicrous and repulsive, let alone impossible. But he'd been tasting Wingless' emotions for a number of moon cycles, and he found his human to be full of feelings that seemed far too big for one so small. He felt protective over Wingless and not simply because he needed him to fly (although flying was very important). Wingless would do anything for Toothless, and it was unlike anything Toothless had ever known. To have a companion, a like-soul in this life, was far more gratifying than being alone. It made him wonder why Night Furies had ever decided to live lives of solitude. It was a shame that humans seemed incapable of reading one another's emotions like dragons could; Toothless desperately wished he could share that connection with Wingless. If he could, they would be superior to any dragon or human that had ever lived.
Toothless closed his eyes again, warm with the fantasy and sad that it would never come to be. He heard Wingless mutter happily and felt the calm settle over his mind as they fell asleep together.
"Dad, I'm moving out."
Stoick's helmet cocked to the side as he scratched his head and watched Hiccup proceed to shove his heavy wooden bed across the house.
"Ah think ye'll need more than eh bed, Hiccup," Stoick offered, amusement in his voice.
Hiccup ignored him and heaved into the bed frame, his metal foot scarring the wooden floor as he dug in for leverage. As he fell asleep under Toothless' wing the previous night, Hiccup came to the conclusion that he should live in the new addition with Toothless. There were plenty of reasons for this, none of which necessarily having anything to do with his nightmares, of course. If, say, Hiccup happened to sleep a bit more soundly as a result of the move, that would merely be a pleasant coincidence. Of course.
Hiccup shoved his shoulder into the frame, but it seemed to be stuck on a support. Or air. "No, Dad I'm just..." He grunted. "Moving it... into the–Woah!" Hiccup flew face first into the wooden floor when Stoick lifted the whole bed. With one hand. Naturally.
"Naow, where are we goin' with this?" he asked.
Hiccup, nose still plastered between the floorboards, pointed blindly at the door to the addition.
Stoick nodded and squeezed his massive frame through the door and looked about the unfinished room. "Eh... Hiccup? Where do yeh wunt it?" he asked, a bit confused. He'd finally learned not to question Hiccup's apparent insanity. In the end it all would make sense. Usually.
Hiccup walked up behind him, rubbing his nose, and pointed to the far end of the room. "Over there, for now. I need to finish the floorboards today, then I'll move it onto that."
A proper Northern storm was blowing outside, but the structure seemed to be holding up without a creak or shudder. Toothless lay before the fire with a small pile of raw cuts of meat and looked on in interest.
"Are you sure you're okay with me moving in, bud?" Hiccup asked him, then saw Toothless’ eyes roll back in his head as he began to regurgitate a portion of his food. "No, no, no!!" Hiccup yelled and waved his hands wildly. Toothless stopped abruptly, eyes wide, waiting for a reason. "I, uh, already had breakfast, heh," Hiccup offered with a crooked grin. Toothless gave his version of a shrug and gulped the meat back down. Hiccup's shoulders slumped. "I'll take that as a 'yes', then," he murmured, a faint, fond smile passing over his lips.
Stoick walked back over to his son, dusting off his hands before folding his arms over his expansive chest. "So, why are yeh movin' out 'ere, exactly?" he asked as he moved to the other end of the room to more securely tie down one of the fur "walls".
"I, uh, well—" Hiccup shared a look at Toothless, who suddenly decided his food was far more interesting than an awkward conversation between father and son. "It just makes more sense, Dad. I mean, if Toothless needs to fly in a hurry, I need to be able to get to him as fast as possible." Hiccup shrugged and Stoick regarded him quietly. "Plus, I'm sure you'd like to have all that,” here Hiccup waved his hands in the air, “extra space in the house. I know you don't like sleeping in the loft, and since I can't get up there..." He scratched the back of his neck.
Stoick approached him and placed a large hand on Hiccup's shoulder. Hiccup promptly lost his balance. "I’m not sure why yeh’d need ta get away in a hurry–our biggest threats are now our pets!” He laughed. “But yeh know yer always welcome in my home, son, no matter how big yer dragon or how few yer limbs." He patted Hiccup on the back, knocking the wind out of the small boy, and moved into the house.
Hiccup’s shoulders slumped and he looked over at Toothless with a relieved sigh before they both moved to begin their day's work on the room.