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Stitching The Tears and Burying the Daggers

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There was confusion.

Gobber had heard the chatter while in the forge; there was a lone Outcast ship making its way to the docks. He had set down what he was working on without second thought upon hearing enough of the gossip, and hobbled out of there as fast as he could.

He found Spitelout, whom had also heard the news, and was on his way to the docks. The temporary chief had a grim look on his face as he quickly made his way towards the destination. He shared a look with Gobber, one that they had been sharing recently.

The riders and Stoick should have been back ages ago. If things had gone as planned, anyway. And now there was a lone Outcast ship making its way through Berk's waters. The scenarios dwindled down to hardly nothing. Either Alvin was here to wager for the captives, or to parade the bodies around. An ambush was one of the smaller worries here. Taking some of the most powerful fighting forces on Berk and then attacking was more Dagur's style, not Alvin's.

Suddenly, the chatter around them changed. At first it was uneasy and anxious. Now though, it was curious and concerned.

"It's the riders!"

"Stoick's at the front of the ship?"

"Why are they in a boat? Where are the dragons?"

Where are the dragons indeed.

Gobber and Spitelout were at the docks, just in time to see Stoick get off the boat. Gods, did he look terrible.

No, no chains or anything indicating he was a captive, but he still looked horrible. The bags under his eyes more prominent, tired and glassy gaze, movements like his body was running subconsciously. His cape was missing. It made him look smaller. He was carrying something too…. something metal and not a weapon.

Gobber hadn't seen the chief like this since the week Valka was taken.

The chief paid no mind to the villagers, asking questions and demanding answers, instead, he just held out his hands and addressed the crowd. "Make way! And someone get Gothi! Hiccup needs to get to her fast."

So Hiccup was hurt. That's why the air stunk of fear and anxiety.

Snotlout and Astrid were the next ones off. The Jorgenson made his way over to his father, walking with stiff posture and eyes never leaving the ground. Astrid sat on the dock next to the ship, prompting her parents, who were in the crowd, to come forward and kneel next to her, trying to get her to speak.

She punched the wood. Gobber recognized the metal in Stoick's hand as Hiccup's prosthetic.

So Hiccup was hurt bad, obviously. Gobber felt sick.

"What happened?" He called. He had weaved his way through the crowd and was now in talking range with the chief.

Stoick opened his mouth to answer. Nothing came out.

Then there was some more shuffling on the ship. Gasps echoed around the crowd as two strangers stepped off. Strangers who…..weren't fully human.

The female made her way over to Astrid. She grabbed her by her forearm and hauled her up, keeping her in a protective grip. The Hoffersons stumbled backwards in fear and bewilderment. She was Astrid's age, maybe a year older. Tall. The top of her head roughly reached Stoick's shoulder, and slender too, with obvious muscle and a nice body. She had nicely tanned skin, and golden blonde hair. Slightly unruly locks were left down except for a small braid that trailed back behind her right ear. She had Amber eyes, and a few freckles dotted her face and body. She was covered in a cream-colored tunic with brown pants and black boots, and what looked like a robe of see-through blue satin that draped around her hips and trailed off to her right. It's pattern closely resembled those of a Deadly Nadder's scales.

Nadder scales that were also on the wings and tail sprouting from her back. And a bit on her hairline, too. She had a crown of small horns sticking out of her golden hair as well.

Astrid clung to the stranger. Eyes staring at the ground, burning with anger and showing no feeling simultaneously. It was a weird combination.

"Those bastards did something so bad they're lucky I wasn't within close proximity of them, otherwise their heads would be so far up their asses they'll be able to taste last night's dinner." The stranger spoke. Or more growled. Literally. She swayed a bit too, as if she was getting used to walking on her own two legs.

Astrid scoffed a bit. Her eyes didn't leave the ground. She seemed to agree though.

Then the male who had walked off the ship (Gobber had just now realized that he had made his way over to Snotlout….why…?) Spoke up. He let out a laugh that had no humor in it.

"Why stop at last night's dinner, Storm? How about so far that they'll be flossing what's left of their teeth with their own hair?"

Storm? Storm as in—Dared he think it—Stormfly?

The male was tall, much like 'Storm', with fire-red hair. Said hair was pulled back into a small ponytail. He had a dark red tunic with sleeves cut off at the shoulders. A dark brown fur vest was thrown over it, and he had black pants with brown fur boots to go with it. He had a hooked fang from what liked like either a wolf or a dragon tied to a strip of hide around his neck.

A hooked fang. Hook fang. Hookfang. Hookfang.

The Nightmare wings, tail, and horns that the newcomer had were a dead giveaway.

Oh dear gods. So this is why the dragons were gone.

The entire village seemed to realize the same thing simultaneously, for there was a deadly silence that settled over the docks.

"…..Hookfang how would that even work. They can't floss their teeth if it's already—"

"Just revel in the saying, Storm. Just revel in the saying."

"…Yeah you know what I'm not gonna question it."

The village watched the exchange with wide eyes. None of them had the slightest idea of what to do.

The twins then appeared in Gobber's field of vision. With another set of twins with greenish hair and dragon features that had to have made them Barf and Belch.

Why Gobber was taking this so calmly, he'd never know. Even years from that day.

Fishlegs was off next. He was immediately brought into a bone-crushing hug by Mrs. Ingerman. She fussed over him for a full minute. The boy didn't have the energy to complain. A girl that could only be Meatlug stood off to the side. Short, curvy lass she was. Short chocolate hair that fell in two small braids down her chest. Brown wings protruding from a tan tunic.

The shield maiden stopped fussing over her son for a moment, and glanced over at the hybrid. The gronkle let out a small smile of recognition- which was returned- before she turned away. She visibly bit her lip, unsaid worries gracing her face.

 

Stoick sighed and looked to the ship. Hiccup and Toothless were the only ones still on. Ironic, considering that Hiccup was the one in most need of a doctor.

"Fishlegs, did Toothless tell you what's taking so long?" Stoick's gaze never left the boat.

The blond nodded his head. He swallowed. "He said he'd be out shortly. Hiccup fell asleep again and he wanted to make sure he wouldn't wake up."

Stoick nodded, and Mrs. Ingerman nodded to her son. He nodded back, and he and his dragon followed the woman off the docks.

Gobber could do nothing but blink for a minute or two. This was still all too much for him to comprehend. It was all happening too fast. He took a deep breath.

"…So…"

Stoick sighed for what seemed like the millionth time. Gobber, once again, was surprised he was still standing. "I know, it's a lot to take in. Just be glad you weren't there when it…happened."

Spitelout and Gobber both shot the chief with identical stares. How they were able to go so long without blinking was beyond even the author. (A/N Ahahahaha iM fUnNy riGhT)

"So you're saying there was screaming? From the dragons?"

Stoick didn't answer right away. It was enough to tell Gobber that there was screaming involved, but not from the dragons. Or at least, not a lot.

Hiccup was the one screaming.

And as if on que, there was said boy. Well, the boy in what could only be his dragon's arms. Toothless wasn't too tall, probably two or three inches higher than Hiccup. Hair long, but too short to put into a pony tail of any sort, so it just swayed unkept around his neck. They covered his unsettling green eyes somewhat. Eyes that looked like they had just witnessed the murder of a brother. Gobber hoped that that wasn't true.

He had obvious hidden muscle. He was wearing a dark grey tunic with black pants and matching boots. He had a strip of red fabric wrapped around his waist a couple times. He had the same wings, ears, and tail with the familiar prosthetic on the end. It was a bit bigger proportionally, as the dragon features had shrunk to support the new body.

Although, obviously that was the last thing anyone at the docks were worried about. The bundle that somehow was Hiccup but it looked nothing like him in Toothless' arms had drawn all the attention. There were gasps and exclamations all around. And even a few screams.

Gobber tried to pretend one of those screams wasn't from Astrid. He could just see her out of the corner of his eye. Stormfly and her parents had both had had enough. They refused to have the girl traumatize herself even more. No matter how much she claimed she was fine, she was going home. They quickly guided her off the docks and out of sight. Gobber was glad.

He could hear the muffled argument between Spitelout and his son. The man was ordering his son to go home. The boy refused. For some reason, he was quieter than his father. Gobber couldn't help but wonder why, until he turned his attention back to Hiccup. He could physically see him flinch unconsciously at the noise. It was heart wrenching.

Oh.

His apprentice was wrapped in Stoick's cape, making him look small. Well…smaller. He was covered in blood, almost to the point beyond recognition. It was matted his hair, and even stained the cape. Said cape was falling off his shoulders from the constant swaying of Toothless' steps, so it rested a few inches below his chest. It left everything above it uncovered. Which was also stained in crimson red. There was… something hanging limply between Toothless' left arm and Hiccup's back. It was too obscured for Gobber to see. Not that he wanted to. He felt like he was about to throw up.

And oh, the smell. The stench of copper was so strong, Gobber wanted to rip his nose off. And that was saying something. He was a seasoned warrior, after all.

What could have caused so much blood?

Hiccup's face was buried in Toothless' chest, preventing the bystanders from seeing it. His left hand was clutching to his dragon's shirt subconsciously. It reminded Gobber of the way the boy used to clutch to Valka's chest all those years ago.

Toothless didn't meet anyone's eyes as he stepped onto the dock. He made his way through the crowd towards Gothi's. He moved with purpose in a body that didn't have the energy to do so. He used his wings to shield Hiccup in the slightest from the shell-shocked gazes and questions, as if afraid the words would physically hurt his rider.

Stoick let out a self-sustaining breath. He looked around pointlessly before nodding after Toothless. "I want everyone to go back to their own business, I'll explain everything that's happened later." He addressed the crowd, who were still staring at their chief with bated breath. Waiting for answers that wouldn't be answered any time soon.

Gods, it was worse than the aftermath of the Red Death. The same shocked silence. The same feeling of fear and knowing nothing….The same feeling of grief.

Stoick seemed to be holding his breath. He looked around the docks, seemingly noticing the crowd for the first time. His shoulders slumped. He looked over to his best friend and step-brother. The two got the message, and followed the chief off the docks. They trailed behind Toothless, half willingly and half not. In fact, it felt more like they were being pulled by an invisible chain. A chain made of fear and sickening curiosity, wanting to know what happened, but scared of the answer.

Toothless could feel the gazes of the villagers as he made his way towards the healer's. He hated it. As if the smell of fear and the whispers of worry weren't enough to torture him. It wasn't doing too well for Hiccup, either. Even while unconscious he could still sense the emotions around him. Too many negative ones and it could lead to nightmares. Toothless learned that one from experience.

Every step he took upset him more and more. That one was too rough for Hiccup. Crap, he stumbled a bit. These stupid human feet were so weak. His knees were about to give out and he was going to gods-damned slow.

He had a permanent scowl on his face. He was determined not to cry. He was determined to keep going too. He knew that if he stopped he would fall. His legs felt like—like—some futuristic substance that is both liquid and solid at the same time. Maybe you could eat it too. In small cups and—no! Not right now. Hiccup first.

Toothless let out a tremendous sigh of relief when Gothi's hut came into view. At the same time though, he was nervous. No, he was terrified. Although the hut was the place to help his rider, it was also a place of answers.

Answers that Toothless was scared to know.

The Night Fury looked down at Hiccup. His eyelids fluttered, on the verge of consciousness and yet not wanting to deal with the pain of being awake. Toothless gave his rider a reassuring squeeze with his too-tired arms, and continued on his way.


 

The Thorstons were more than relieved when their son and daughter came in through the door into their home. Ironic considering that the two spent most of their time destroying things with their dragon. Really, the two had grey hairs solely from stress. None of it was from old age yet.

But then they realized there was something wrong. The twins were…solemn….silent. They seemed to be thinking. That was certainly new.

"Okay, something happened with the Outcasts. What was it?" Mr. Thorston asked, pulling back from hugging a complaining Ruffnut.

The twins glanced at each other. Neither of them could even begin to comprehend where to start. Heck, they could still barely comprehend what happened themselves."Um, well Hiccup got hurt. Like really bad." Ruffnut started.

"Yeah, it was pretty awesome at first but…." Tuffnut trailed off, and both twins scooted closer to one another. Mr. Thorston wasn't even sure if they were aware that they did it. They both kept looking down at the ground.

Mr. and Mrs. Thorston shared a horrified look. Hiccup must have been hurt really badly if it had shaken even Ruff and Tuff who, mind you, basically worship pain.

"But…what, dear?" Mrs. Thorston ventured, unsure if she even wanted to know.

Tuff took a sharp breath, and glanced outside as if waiting for someone. "Well….no one except Dagur actually saw what happened but…he was screaming for a long time."

"And when we finally got out and over to him he was just—covered in blood." Ruffnut wavered. "Like a more than cool amount of blood. It was just downright scary."

"And our Hiccup fellow is not a weak person. Well I mean he's weak, that boy can't pick up a sword worth crap, but he's not weak mentally." Tuffnut continued again, the two were on a roll.

"It was the first time we've ever seen him…cry."

"It was more of a sob, dear sister."

"Whatever! Hiccup was crying for gods' sake! It was scary!" Ruffnut finally snapped. She turned to her mother. "Mom, it was so scary." She quivered and held a hand to her chest.

Mrs. Thorston wasted no time in pulling her daughter into a hug. Her husband set his hand on her shoulder. The last time they had seen Ruffnut cry because she was scared was almost a decade ago, when there was a particularly nasty thunderstorm. Tuffnut had made fun of her for days after that. They had assumed that Ruffnut had sworn to herself that she would never show fear again.

The tears didn't last long though. In fact, they seemed to disappear before they even began. Ruffnut took a few deep breaths, before turning back to her twin. "There's uh…something else you need to know." She said, changing the subject.

"Oh ho, I've been waiting for this!" Tuff exclaimed, mood switching like a lever was pulled in his brain.

"What is it?" Mr. Thorston asked.

"Well uh, Hiccup….wasn't the only problem that happened on Outcast Island, Dad." Ruff explained. "There was a reason we returned on a boat."

Oh yeah. The dragons. Where was Barf and Belch? Was the Zippleback okay? The twins shared a look with each other, before moving back towards the door, opening it to reveal another pair of identical twins. Well, almost identical. Both boys had golden and green hair, but one had more dominantly green while the other had more dominantly blond.

Oh yeah, and they both had Zippleback wings and tails sprouting from their backs.

"Mother, Father, meet Barf and Belch!" Tuffnut exclaimed, throwing his arms out in a dramatic way.

The husband and wife blinked simultaneously. Eyes bulged out of their eye sockets. Mrs. Thorston could hear her husband swallow and whisper a…not so kid-friendly word.

…..They were going to have a lot more grey hairs than they were hoping for, weren't they?


 

Spitelout had ordered Snotlout to go home. Of course, he refused at first. His cousin was hurt and naturally he wanted to make sure he was okay. But even he knew when to call it quits. He was exhausted to his very core. If Hookfang was still a dragon he would have rode him to the house.

He had gotten home in fifteen minutes, even if it felt like an eternity. Hookfang squirming under the gazes of passer-by's didn't help much either.

Mrs. Jorgenson was cooking dinner when the two had entered. Despite the usual Viking stereotypes, the woman was an excellent cook. She had taken one glance over her shoulder, dropped the onion she was holding, and rushed over to her dead-looking son, pulling him into a bone-crushing hug. She didn't even notice Hookfang until he plopped down with an exhausted sigh by the fire.

It had taken some explaining (and yes, Mrs. Jorgenson yelled a few times; Spitelout didn't marry her just for her cooking. She had a fiery personality) but she eventually came to. Snotlout was surprised she accepted it as quickly as she did. She went back to working on dinner after a few minutes. So that's where they were now. Snotlout was in his room, passed out on his bed, and Hookfang was helping the woman finish the stew she was cooking.

"So….Hiccup isn't….human anymore?" She asked, dumping a bowl of carrots into the cauldron above the fireplace.

"Well, no and yes." Hookfang answered, sticking a cleaned finger into the broiling hot stew with no pain and tasting it, "Dagur fed him this potion made by a witch. It turned him into a Night Fury hybrid. Like how I look right now I guess." He added.

Mrs. Jorgenson pursed her lips, trying to process the information. "And is he going to be…okay?"

Hookfang swallowed, and watched the bubbles in the stew as they rose to the surface and popped. "I don't know." He then picked up a potato and started chopping it up. "Physically, probably. Mentally…." He trailed off. The woman looked over at the redhead.

"The transformation was terrible enough to listen to." Hookfang whispered, "I doubt he'll wake up feeling all fine and dandy."

Mrs. Jorgenson pressed her lips together in fear for her nephew. She decided to change the subject to a lighter topic. "You're cutting those potatoes wrong, you know." She said in amusement.

The former Nightmare blinked, and looked down at the plant in his hand for a moment, completely bewildered that there was a correct way to cut it.

The woman laughed, and moved towards him. She grabbed the knife in his hands and guided it, chopping the potatoes into smaller, neater pieces.

"That's how you do it." She mused, watching as the redhead followed her movements. He laughed, and scooped the cubes into his hand, dumping it into the stew. "I'm glad I was taught be the master." He joked.

Mrs. Jorgenson smirked, and they fell into a comfortable silence. Unfortunately, that meant that both had the time to think. The woman glanced out the window. The afternoon sun was seeping in through the glass, and cast happy, yellow, calming streams of light into the house.

….if only it could make it a happy day.

If only it could help her nephew.


 

Gobber, Spitelout and Stoick had gotten to the top of Gothi's tower and into her hut just as the woman happened to bustle by frantically. Her eyes were wide with a rare showing of concern. The amputee was hit with the smell of herbal medicine; pretty common for the elder so he wasn't really surprised. But then, it was mixed with the smell of blood from earlier. Suddenly, Gobber had a flashback to those times all those years ago when he had been sitting in that bed, covered in blood as Gothi worked frantically to stop the bleeding from his missing limbs.

Gobber shook his head, refusing to get caught up in the past. Right now, Hiccup was in dire need of help. And Gobber still didn't know why.

His apprentice was awake now. The blood-stained cape was left draped around his waist. He was shaking like his heart was stabbed through by a sword of ice. The paleness of his face was convincing to that scenario, too. His feverish emerald eyes darted around the room deliriously, recognizing the place he was at and why he was there, but too out of it to fully comprehend the thought. Gobber squinted a bit. Hiccup's eyes looked weird, too…. not dilated, like ones normally would when in shock…. something else. Something…unnatural.

Gothi shuffled to the bedside he was closest to. She had already started her work, apparently. The three adults and Toothless watched, frozen. The elder reached behind Hiccup for….something. Toothless was the only one with the advantage point of seeing what it was. He looked positively green. Gobber guessed the teen's back was what was injured.

The amputee's heart wrenched as he realized Hiccup had kept his gaze on Toothless. It was almost as if he thought the dragon would disappear and leave him forever if he looked away.

Then, Gothi finally touched the injury on Hiccup's back. And Gobber knew that she had only just then touched it because Hiccup had let lout a horrifyingly hoarse scream that ripped itself from his throat. He visually tensed up and doubled over in pain, letting out a quiet, pitiful groan.

Toothless immediately jumped up onto the bed and beside his rider. He put his hands on his shoulders, and rubbed them slightly as Hiccup stayed curled up in the fetal position. His hands were pressed between his legs and stomach. His forehead rested on the blanket beneath him. He whispered things into his rider's ear, trying to calm him down.

All Gobber could do was stare.

Hiccup had wings. Not just any wings, pitch-black Night Fury wings. There they were. They had so very obviously forced their way out of his tunic. Said tunic was now shredded and, did he even have to say it anymore, covered in blood. It was as if the material had physically fused with the liquid.

The appendages laid limply behind him. They were still half folded, and twitched occasionally. That was the thing that set Gobber off most. The fact that they were moving and physically part of Hiccup's body. He had wings and a tail, too. He could see the third appendage as it, too, twitched behind the teen, trailing off to the right and hanging off the bed slightly.

Gobber swallowed. He could feel his heart pounding in his chest. Still at a loss for words, he turned to look at Stoick. The man's lips were pressed together in a thin line, and the hand that was still clutching the prosthetic had turned white because of his grip. Spitelout was looking at his step brother in horror, a rare emotion showed on the Jorgenson's features.

Dear gods, what happened on that damned island?

Gothi gave a silent apology, but otherwise continued her work. She was as gentle as she could be while prodding and stretching the appendages. The frown on her face grew more and more concerned with each minute that passed. She even picked up Toothless' arms and limbs and inspected him for a bit. This caused him to fidget like a toddler and grimace. When Gothi got to Toothless' face, he growled, and she slapped him on the nose. He jumped backwards, and it lightened the mood just slightly, seeing the exchange. It was only five minutes before Gothi turned to Stoick, not having to write anything down to ask the question on her mind.

The chief sighed, plopping down and told a story that Gobber had trouble wrapping his mind around. Witches and magic and Dagur and revenge and potions? What the literal actual fu—

"It was weird…" Stoick added as an after thought, "we only saw Alvin once. He took the vials of the other stuff and just…left."

Gothi seemed in deep thought, and moved back to Hiccup. The boy was now laying on his side, head resting on Toothless' lap. She poked up and down his spine for a few more minutes, causing a small, but heartless grunt to come from the boy. He obviously didn't have the energy to complain anymore. Gobber felt another pain in his heart for the boy.

"Well it's obvious we'll get no answers about Alvin; Dagur on the other hand, we do seem to have more information about." Spitelout said, glancing pitifully at his nephew. "Do we know his motives for doing this?"

"Revenge." Stoick said simply, voice shaking from slight rage. "He said it outright. And said something about wanting a Night Fury."

"But…when I was on my way to find Hiccup….Dagur was screaming." Toothless piped up. They were the first words Gobber had heard the dragon say. It was surreal. "The…I think the witch said the potion was only halfway finished. Dagur must have gotten too impatient…. I think his original idea was to make Hiccup a full Night Fury."

Gobber took a quick breath. No one knew what to say after that. Then Gothi piped up, with a bang of her staff. She then scribbled something on the ground, and Gobber stepped forward to read it.

"This magic I haven't seen in a long time, nor do I have that much experience with it." He read. "I have good and bar news. Bar? What's ba—OW!"—He was whacked in the head by Gothi—"Oh, bad. Bad news. There's good and bad news."

He rubbed his head a bit. Gothi erased the old runes and replaced them with new ones. Once she stopped, Gobber read once again after some hesitation. "The good news: From what I can tell, the dragons will be able to build up the magic to assume dragon form again, although it will take anywhere from a fortnight to a month."

Gobber heard Toothless sigh. "That's good to know." He mumbled. Gobber realized it was probably the first good news he'd heard in over a day. But since when did dragons have magic?

Gothi then tapped Gobber's shoulder with impatience. She obviously wanted him to get on with the next sentence. Gobber took a deep breath, steadying himself. "A-and for the bad news…." He swallowed. "Hiccup's transformation is parmesan? Isn't that a cheese? Gothi, honestly the last thing on my mind right now is foo—" He was hit with twice as much force as she had before. Gobber did a double take at the runes, and his lips pressed into a thin line. He gripped the side of the bed, glancing over at Hiccup. His apprentice was gazing tiredly at him through half lidded eyes. His wings twitched behind him as Toothless anxiously, yet carefully, rubbed a joint on one of them. Oh, gods….

"Hiccup's transformation…is permanent. There's no reversal. From the…" Gobber's throat tightened, lump forming, but he swallowed it down. "From the information from Stoick, and from what Gothi's observed, the potion fed to him was only half finished. It would be too risky to remove the magic even if we could; a half-finished potion is unstable it…was a miracle that Hiccup even made it out alive."

He finished the last bit with a whisper. Gobber could almost hear everyone's hopes shattering. Not from the fact that Hiccup was now not fully human. In fact, half of Berk was certain the boy was part dragon before this, anyway. It was the fact that the trauma couldn't be reversed.

Under different circumstances, Gobber was sure Hiccup would be fine. Heck, he'd probably even be ecstatic about getting his own pair of wings. But here, Dagur had invaded his mind and body. He forced him to undergo something so utterly terrible, that he would certainly have nightmares for the next month. Maybe even year. His body will be limited for gods know how long, just trying to get used to this. There were so many more scenarios that made Gobber too sick to even want to dwell into.

The amputee watched as Stoick, the great Stoick the Vast himself, set his head in his hands, and let out a shuttering breath. A sight he hadn't seen in fifteen years. Toothless was staring at his rider, Adams Apple bobbing up and down in the attempt not to cry. He kept rubbing the joint of Hiccup's wing. He needed to be strong for his rider.

Hiccup's reaction, or more accurately, lack of reaction, was the worst. He just continued to stare, as if he already knew what the answer was going to be. He had already lost all hope. Had already gone to the most logical answer before anyone else had. It was terrible. Gobber felt like crying.

Gothi shuffled over to Stoick, handing him a bottle of medicine. Gobber recognized it as a pain relieving remedy.

Stoick thanked the elder, no emotion in his voice as she shuffled away. She went over to a nearby desk to write down some recipes and other things that would need to be used in the month(s) to come. After handing the list to the chief, she nodded and headed out of the room. She left an unspoken sentence in the air.

That was all she could do.

Stoick stayed on the chair for a few minutes after she left. Spitelout excused himself to go to his son. After what he had just witnessed, Gobber couldn't blame him from wanting to be with him.

Stoick sighed after a while. He stood up and walked over to the bed. He stopped by the side of it, and Gobber and Toothless watched as he used his free hand to comb through his son's matted hair. Hiccup sighed as he did so, closing his eyes. Gobber pretended not to notice the ear plates sticking out of his hair.

"I'm going to go make the announcement to the village." Stoick said, to who, Gobber didn't know. "After that, I want to get Hiccup cleaned up. Red isn't a good color on him…" He trailed off. He then bent down and scooped the boy into his arms.

There was a protest from Toothless, and the hybrid shot up. He obviously didn't like the situation. One glance from the chief though, and he quieted down.

They had been walking through the village for quite a while before Gobber spoke again. "I don't think you could carry him, even if Stoick allowed you to, lad." He stated, watching Toothless as he trudged next to him. "You look dead on your feet. And that's saying something, considering I've seen Hiccup in the forge after going on four days with no shut-eye."

Toothless cracked a weak smile. His shoulders slumped a bit. Gobber wanted to pretend that it was from tiredness instead of defeat.

The house was dark and cold when they entered it. Gobber immediately went to get a fire going. Toothless plopped down next to the fire pit. He had taken one look at the stairs and realized they were too much of a challenge for that night. Stoick had come down from Hiccup's room just as Gobber got the fire going. He left without so much as a word. Instead, he glanced back up the stairs before walking out.

Gobber and Toothless sat in an uncaring and exhausted silence. For how long, neither knew. The sun had just dipped below the horizon when Gobber stood up. It grabbed Toothless' attention, and the poor boy snapped to attention. The amputee realized the Night Fury had been dozing.

"Well." He said, popping his back, "Why don't we get that bath ready for Hiccup for when Stoick returns?" He ventured.

Toothless blinked, and then nodded. "Yeah, o-okay." He stuttered, standing up.

Gobber smiled, and he and the former Night Fury went to collect some water. Both unknowingly wished that it could wash away more than just dirt and blood off of Hiccup's body.


 

Stoick had gotten home later than expected. The sun had set a long time ago, and of course, Berk's reaction was typical. The outraged cries and death threats to Dagur were more comforting than he would like to let on.

But there was also the side of the village who came up to him after and promised to protect his son. They promised to help Hiccup get through this, even if that meant doing nothing but staying away. Stoick felt nothing but gratitude towards them.

And then of course there was Mildew. The old coop didn't say anything towards the chief…yet, but he knew whatever the farmer had in mind was coming soon. And Stoick was certain it didn't have anything good for Hiccup. He'd need to have some people keep an eye out for him.

He sighed, and braced himself before opening the door. He was hit by a wave of warmth from the fire. It relieved him from the cold air of the evening outside. Gobber was resting in his chair, almost asleep. Stoick would have chastised him if he wasn't as tired as he was.

Gobber looked over to the chief, alert clear in his eyes. Stoick realized he must have caught him off guard.

"Hey, Stoick." He mumbled, standing up.

The chief looked around, noticing a trough near the fire pit, filled with what looked like blood.

"Uh, Gobber what's that?" The question sounded more like a statement. He was too tired to make his voice sound like anything more than a monotone.

The blacksmith looked over at the trough, and then back to Stoick. "It's left over bath water. You were later than expected so me and Toothless decided to clean him up for you."

Stoick nodded. And sucked in a deep breath. "Where's Toothless?" He ventured.

"Upstairs. He crashed as soon as his head hit the pillow." Gobber answered with attempted humor.

Stoick immediately made his way upstairs, walking over to the bed as quietly as possible. Gobber followed, his peg leg clicked every other step.

Hiccup looked a lot better now that he wasn't covered in blood. In fact, he even looked a bit peaceful. But that may just be because he was sleeping. It was relieving to see him wearing clean clothing, although there were some slits that had to be torn in his tunic for the wings. Said wings were pressed against Toothless' chest. The dragon had Hiccup pulled close against him, nose buried in his son's auburn and not blood-stained hair.

Stoick watched as both hybrids breathed calmly, lost in the realm of unconsciousness. Hiccup's new appendages twitched every now and then, much like Toothless'. Suddenly, Hiccup jerked harshly and let out a whimper.

Nightmares. They were happening already.

Stoick stepped forward to wake his son up before it got any worse—

But Toothless, in his sleep nonetheless, seemed to sense the situation too. He mumbled, and curled around his rider, arms tightening around Hiccup's waist. The man heard a small reptilian rumble start up. Toothless was purring.

And evidently, it worked. Hiccup calmed down, visibly relaxing and falling deeper into sleep.

Stoick sighed, backing up. Gobber set a hand on his shoulder.

"We're going to get through this, you know." The blacksmith whispered, "Hiccup's going to get through this. We'll help him. The Gang will look after him. The dragons will look after him."

Stoick nodded, watching Hiccup as he slept. He could have sworn he saw him smile a bit in his unconsciousness.

"Berk. Will look after him." Gobber finished.

Stoick smiled finally. It was small, but it was enough for Gobber.

"I know."