*rises zombie-like from her grave* I’m aliiiiiiiiive
@httydfangirlz I got this ask two months ago and I’m so sorry to you and everyone else who has sent me a request. I’ve been in such a bad writing slump that I haven’t even been able to open my computer. That, and I got a second job and I just haven’t felt like doing anything when I get home at night.
But I feel like its coming back to me, so we’ll see how things go. Hopefully, I’ll update some of my other stories.
“Stop being overdrama-Oh!” Astrid’s laugh cut short as Hiccup’s eyes rolled back in his head and he dropped.
It had started with a tickle in the back of his throat. A scratchy sensation that had him clearing his throat every few minutes. Hiccup was hoping it was an after effect of the day before. They’d been heading a group of dragons and he’d spent most of the day yelling at the twins to get back into formation. He’d been hoarse by the time they’d finally returned to Berk.
Hiccup cleared his throat again and erased one of the lines he’d just drawn onto the parchment in front of him. He was planning an extension to the dragon stables. With the Riders back on Berk, and more Vikings befriending dragons, they needed more room.
True Winter was a few months away. When the days were dark and cold and bleak. Hiccup wanted the stables finished before then.
The weather was already beginning to turn. Over the last few weeks it had gone from driving rain to damaging hail. Frost was beginning to creep across the eaves in the early morning.
Hiccup sneezed into the crook of his arm. He had too much work to do. He couldn’t afford to get sick right now.
A soft knock on the door drew his attention. Hiccup looked up just as Astrid let herself inside.
“Hey Milady,” he let his pencil fall from his fingers and stretched. He’d been bent over his work for hours.
“Hey,” Astrid took a seat beside her boyfriend. “What are you working on?”
“Just some plans for the new stables.” Hiccup let Astrid pull the parchment away from him and watched as she studied the designs. “I thought you’d be out training right now.”
“I was,” Astrid rolled up the papers and put them aside. “But it’s pouring outside. Even I know when to quit.”
Hiccup tipped his head to the side, only just noticing the sound of water hitting the roof above them. He turned back to Astrid, taking in her wet hair and damp clothes.
“Aren’t you cold?” He asked. It was warm in the Chief’s hut. Hiccup had lit the fire before he had sat down to his task. Still, Astrid had only just come in out of the freezing rain. “You’ll get sick if you’re not careful.” Hiccup got up to fetch one of the furs sitting by the fireplace. His nose chose that moment to itch and a sneeze burst from him.
“Are you sure you’re not the one getting sick?” Astrid laughed, but she accepted the fur, pulling it around her shoulders. She sat, leaning into Hiccup’s warm side as he went back to work, only moving when Stoick returned with food.
The three of them ate together, swapping stories of their day around Berk.
Later, when the rain had eased, Astrid excused herself and went home.
Hiccup decided to turn in for the night, exhaustion weighing on him. Toothless padded up the stairs behind him, pausing at the top for a moment to watch his rider climb wearily into bed before he curled up in his corner to sleep.
Hiccup woke late the next morning. If it wasn’t for his father calling from downstairs, he probably would have slept longer. As it was, his head was pounding. The tickle in his throat had evolved into a dry, raw ache. His breath rasped in his chest.
He lay for a moment, his eyes still closed, mentally preparing himself to get up. He needed to show his father the changes he’d made to the stable designs. He hadn’t had the chance the night before. Once he had Stoick’s approval he needed to meet with the workers who would help with the construction.
Afterwards, he was expected in the training arena to oversee the next stage of development of the Auxiliary Team. Gobber wanted his help in the forge, Astrid wanted Hiccup to have dinner with her family.
He could probably get out of dinner, Astrid would understand. Gobber had mentioned something the other day about an idea for a dragon wash. The older man had been asking Hiccup if he could come around in his free time. The orders for dragon-related paraphernalia were coming in thick and fast. Hiccup had been putting it off, but he’d promised Gobber than he would come by today.
A large snuffle beside his head made Hiccup open his eyes. He reached up to scratch Toothless’s jaw. Somewhere amongst all this Hiccup needed to find time to fly Toothless.
He sat up with a groan.
“What do you think the chances are of taking it easy today?” Hiccup rubbed at his eyes. His name floated up from downstairs again.
“Yeah… unlikely,” Hiccup agreed. He swung his legs slowly over the edge of the bed.
Toothless sat back on his haunches and waited as Hiccup attached his prosthetic and changed into some clean clothes.
He felt wobbly as he made his way downstairs. His head felt like it was stuffed with lamb’s wool.
Hiccup shuffled across the floor and took a seat at the table across from his father.
“Hey Dad.” He picked tiredly at the bread in front of him, his stomach twisting at the thought of eating.
“Son,” Stoick looked up. He was holding the plans for the new stables. “I’ve been looking over your designs,” he paused to take a swig from his mud. “It’s looking good.”
“Yeah… about that…” Hiccup pushed his plate away. “Do you think maybe I could… uh sit out of the meeting this morning?”
The cup hit the table. Hard. “What?” Bushy eyebrows raised in confusion. “But this whole thing was your idea.”
“I know Dad, but- “
Stoick cut him off. “You know it’s time for you to become more involved with the running of Berk.”
“Yeah, I know we said-“ Hiccup tried to explain.
“And what better way to get to know your people than by working with them on an expansion of the village.”
Hiccup sighed. His dad didn’t understand that this wasn’t just another attempt to get out of his duties. In fact, he was really excited to help make Berk better for the dragons that lived there. The stables were only phase one.
“Okay, fine. I’ll be there.” Hiccup stood from the table.
Stoick frowned, gesturing to the food in from of them. “You don’t want more?”
Hiccup shook his head. “No thanks. I’m not hungry.” He held out his hand for the papers his Dad was holding. “I guess I’ll see you there.” He motioned for Toothless, holding the door open so that his dragon could bounce through.
Frost crunched underfoot as Hiccup followed the Night Fury outside. The air was biting and fresh. It helped to clear Hiccup’s head somewhat, but congestion still sat heavy in his chest.
“Let’s just get this over with,” Hiccup told Toothless as he climbed up into the saddle.
The meeting sucked just as much as Hiccup expected.
It actually went really well. There had been no major disagreements between the Vikings gathered and the work was scheduled to start soon.
It sucked because Hiccup’s head was so stuffy, he could barely string two thoughts together. His headache pulsed just behind his eyes and he’d been fighting the rising urge to cough for the last thirty minutes.
He’d given up on trying to look interested in the conversation, letting his father take charge, and sitting with his head resting in his hands.
The second the meeting was over, he excused himself and left, Toothless hot on his heels. They got outside and Hiccup jumped onto the saddle, directing Toothless to just go.
As soon as they land Hiccup is down, stumbling across uneven ground as harsh coughs tore from his throat.
“I’ll be okay.” As soon as he could breathe again, Hiccup turned to reassure Toothless. “Come on, we need to get to the arena.”
Astrid’s already in the arena with Stormfly when Hiccup and Toothless land. He leant on the wall beside her, watching as the Auxiliary Team performed a series of manoeuvres overhead.
“You’re late.” She’s watching the sky, but Astrid let her gaze flick over to meet Hiccup’s.
“I know, I’m sorry.” It came out as a croak. Hiccup tried again. “Actually, Ast. Do you mind taking point on this?”
Astrid took a second to take in Hiccup’s appearance. “Sure, babe. Everything okay?”
Hiccup nodded. “Yeah, just tired.”
“Maybe you should head home,” Astrid suggested. “I’ve got everything covered here.”
It sounded so tempting, but he still had so much to do. It was barely lunch time. “It’s just a cold Astrid. I can push through.”
“But you don’t need to.” Astrid stepped up closer to Hiccup. “I can handle things here,” she said. “And I know you were planning to help Gobber out this afternoon. I can let him know you won’t make it.”
“Thanks Astrid.” Hiccup gripped Astrid’s hand briefly, then called Toothless over. Things had been non-stop ever since they’d returned from Dragon’s Edge. Hiccup was almost looking forward to an afternoon off.
“I’ll come see you late,” Astrid promised as Hiccup and Toothless took off.
What time was it?
Hiccup felt so disoriented. How long had he been sleeping? He could hear voices downstairs. His Dad was talking to someone. Their voices drifted up the stairs to wash over him.
Sitting up was hard. Hiccup’s head spun.
Standing was even harder.
Toothless crooned softly as Hiccup wobbled on shaky legs.
“Let’s go see what’s going on.” Hiccup’s voice was a painful rasp. He coughed, wet and raw and gasped for breath. “Maybe it can wait.”
The people downstairs must have heard him, his father called his name.
Hiccup took slow steps, exiting his room and pausing on the top step above the main room below.
Fishlegs is talking to Stoick, gesturing animatedly as he describes something he found. Hiccup caught bits and pieces as he descended the stairs.
“-and then I took it to Gobber. He thinks we might have discovered something even tougher than the Gronkle Iron. Oh, hey Hiccup.”
Fishlegs looked over at Hiccup as he reached the last step.
“Hey Fishlegs,” Hiccup took a seat by the fire. He could feel himself shivering despite the warmth of the flames. He still had no idea what day it was. It felt like he’d only slept a few hours, but Fishlegs had gone to visit Mala and the Defenders of the Wing. If he was back, that would mean Hiccup had slept right through to the next day.
“Hmm?” He glanced up, realising that Fishlegs was talking to him.
“Gobber was wondering if you could meet him at the forge this morning.”
That helped clear things up a bit. It was morning. Hiccup must have been exhausted. It wasn’t the first time a cold had knocked him out like this. It happened every winter. He’d sleep for a day or two and then be right again.
“Hiccup?” Stoick was staring at his son. He and Fishlegs were still waiting for him to respond.
“Oh, um, can you tell him I’ll see him tomorrow.” Hiccup decided that if he took another day off, he’d most likely be fine by tomorrow. Besides, the forge was noisy with the constant ring of metal against metal. Hiccup wasn’t sure his pounding head was up to it.
Stoick shook his head. “You can’t sleep all day,” he said. “You took the whole afternoon off yesterday.”
“I know, and I promise I’ll get on to it tomorrow,” Hiccup started.
“You’re not at the Edge anymore,” his dad reminded him. “Winter is almost here and there’s so much to do. You did so well yesterday.” Stoick sounded so proud. Hiccup felt guilty, like he was letting his father down.
“Thanks, but- “
“This is so exciting Hiccup. People listen to you. They’re beginning to accept your authority.”
“Fine, I’m going.” Hiccup stood up quickly. Too quickly. The room spun lazily and he was sure he would have fallen if he didn’t have Toothless to grip on to.
Fishlegs looked from one Haddock to the other, shifting nervously. “I’m sure it’s not that important,” he stuttered.
“No, dad’s right.” Hiccup led the way to the door. “Let’s go have a look at this new metal.”
The forge was stifling. It was uncomfortable. Every so often a sharp breeze blew in from the entrance and Hiccup was freezing again.
He’d been hammering away at this metallic mixture Meatlug had regurgitated until dizziness and double-vision had him gripping two hammers instead of one. He’d sat down quickly and let Gobber take over most of the work.
Hiccup covered his mouth, hacking into his hands.
“Look at this! He’s alive!” Astrid sat down beside Hiccup, bumping shoulders with him. “I wasn’t sure you were going to make it when I sent you home yesterday,” she joked.
Hiccup stared at her. He hadn’t even noticed her walk in. He wiped his hands on his pants.
“Though seeing you now, I’m still not sure you will.” Astrid lifted her hand to lay it against Hiccup’s forehead. “I was surprised when you weren’t at home,” she told home. “Your Dad told me I might find you here. So, I came to check on you.”
“Aww, well isn’t this sweet.” Gobber stopped hammering to swap his prosthetic out. “Take him home lass. That awful sound he’s making is driving away business.”
Hiccup found the energy to roll his eyes. “Nice to see you care, Gobber.”
The older man laughed. “I do care lad. I care about my customers,” he laughed. “Get on home now.”
“I’m going. I’m going.”
Astrid help Hiccup up.
“You shouldn’t even be here.” It was a gentle scold, but a scold nonetheless.
“I tried Astrid,” Hiccup argued, voice cracking. “Dad’s so excited that I’m back and helping him out with running the village. I tried to tell him this morning I wasn’t feeling well, but he wouldn’t let me get a word in.” He had to stop so that he could cough again.
“You okay?” Astrid asked when he finished.
“Just peachy.” Hiccup grinned, his cheeks rosy from the cold air and the fever burning just below his skin.
“Good to hear.” Astrid linked his arm with hers. “I don’t know what I’d do otherwise.”
They’d almost reached Hiccup’s house. Toothless had run ahead and was sitting at the front door, pawing at it.
“This is it Astrid. I think I’m dying,” Hiccup complained. A few more steps then they’d be inside.
Astrid laughed. “Somehow I doubt it. You’ve got a cold, you’ll get over it.”
“I don’t think so. This is it.”
“Stop being overdrama-Oh!” Astrid’s laugh cut short as Hiccup’s eyes rolled back in his head and he dropped.
His dreams were full of fire and ice. He burned in the flames that licked his body, eating him up until he was nothing but ash and dust, then the ice cracked over his skin. Frozen, he fractured into a million shivering pieces.
Over and over. Burning and freezing in the darkness that swallowed him, until… nothing.
Awareness returned slowly and the darkness dispersed.
Hiccup opened his eyes.
“Look who decided to join us.” Stoick was sitting beside his son’s bed.
Hiccup frowned, his brows knit together as he tried to recall what had happened. His last clear memory was finishing up his plans for the extension of the stables. Everything after that was a blur.
He decided to ask his Dad.
“You got sick.” Stoick’s tone was full of remorse. “And I didn’t even notice.”
“It’s okay.” Hiccup pushed himself up to sit.
Stoick shook his head. “No, it’s not son. I’m your father. It’s my job to protect you.” He held up his hand when Hiccup tried to protest. “You tried to tell me. Multiple times. I didn’t listen.” He sighed. “Astrid’s very angry at me.”
Hiccup chuckled weakly. He could just imagine it. Astrid was afraid of nothing. She would tell the Chief of Berk exactly what was on her mind. Hiccup almost wished he could have seen it.
“She’s a good girl.” Stoick smiled down at his son. “You’re lucky to have her looking out for you.”
“I know.” Hiccup’s gaze was focused just past his father’s broad shoulders. Stoick turned in his seat and spotted Astrid standing at the edge of the room.
He flushed pink and cleared his throat awkwardly. “Oh, Astrid. Didn’t uh, didn’t see you there. I’ll just… uh, leave you two… okay.”
It wasn’t often Hiccup got to see his Dad lost for words. He watched, amused, as the large man excused him from the room.
“Hey.” Astrid took the seat vacated by Stoick.
“Hey.” Hiccup picked at his blanket.
“You know, you really scared me the other day,” Astrid told him.
“I’m sorry.” Hiccup met his girlfriend’s steady stare.
“Just try not to do it again.” Her expression softened into a smile. “I’m glad you’re feeling better.”