He had remembered sitting on his couch, bouncing in place and ignoring the warm smiles, viewing him, for the most part. All he could really concentrate on was the large time worn clock at the end of the room.
He waited 26...
"Starin' at the clocks not gonna make it go any faster mate."
"Oh leave it Aster, you were just as excited when your time came, if I recall correctly, and I'm sure I do."
"Hah, oh that's right Sandy I almost forgot how excited he was!"
"I'd tell you to quiet your earbashin’ you ankle biter but you're not actually sayin’ anything."
"Calm down now, Jack’s time is almost here."
Bright blue orbs turned to a round rosy cheeked man, wide in excitement and anticipation. "Happy Birthday, Jack!" Echoed across the room, earning a pout from the birthday boy.
"Alright, alright. Come on, let's head down to the shop and fix you up."
Blue eyes lit up, jumping up from the couch and running before the older man, sliding down the stair railing. "Come on North, let's go!"
The man chuckled behind him making no move to speed up. The other three smiling and shaking their heads fondly, following albeit at their own willing paces. When all three arrived downstairs they watched Jack nearly vibrate in his seat. His excitement was obvious, his nervousness almost undetected. "Why don't I tell you a story while I give you your timer?"
The teens eyes widened with honest curiosity and 'North' took that as a go. "When I was 23 my clocks time had disappeared."
At this young Jack's eyes widened in emphatic fear. "Were you sad?"
"Oy, sad couldn't even begin to describe it! I was passing days with fear of what had happened to my destined and why my clock had suddenly gone out. Until one day your mother couldn't stand my moping any longer and tossed me out of the house, telling me to cheer up or else." Jack laughed at the thought of his mother doing such a thing, the other three adults joining in, his amusement helping him partially ignore his uncles workings.
"Did she really do that?" The pixie haired woman asked, trying to stop the amused grin wanting to break free at her friends expense.
"The woman can carry a mule if she set her heart on it." Came the proud Australian accent.
Jack switched his attention to each adult as they spoke, watching as Sandy moved his hands quickly. Jack mostly not knowing what it meant, he did managed to catch a few words here and there, though he couldn't make sense of ‘rabbit hole,’ or ‘hours,’ or ‘stuck.’
"Okay, okay. Enough embarrassing Aster for one day. Nicholas, please continue telling Jack your story." Toothiana said remaining amused.
"Da, da. I wandered around our home town for hours waiting until your mother would call me and tell me she'd let me back in. And there I was, in the middle of a call from her when this wonderful woman sat by me, a bandage around her arm. I knew it was her when she looked at me. You see, an old friend of mines Drac, we used to call him, had always gone about how clocks were useless, because the only clock we needed was that special 'zing,' and of course we all choked it up to him not getting with the times and living in old folklore.
"But when I looked into her eyes I knew that's exactly what had happened." North sighed wistfully at his memories, just about done with Jacks timer.
"And that's how you meet Aunt Emma?"
North nodded to the boy, "She had been sick and couldn't take the thought of dragging her destined into such heartache. But I never regretted a moment of it. She was a beautiful person in and out and I wouldn't trade the days I had with her for the world." There was a nostalgic twinkle in his eye before he chuckled to himself, "Though she did make me work hard for those days."
There was a mourning silence that filled the room before a beep was heard, Jacks timer had been successfully installed. He quickly looked toward it as little dashes filled it. His Soul mate hadn't gotten their timer yet.... Jacks face dropped with disappointment, looking up at Nicholas disappointedly. "They don't have theirs yet..."
"Aw Jack," Toothiana started out with a comforting tone.
"Now Jack," North cut her off, "Do you know why I told you that story?"
The white haired boy shook his head, a frown of disappointment still shining through. "No," he added solemnly.
"I wanted you to know that even if that clock never starts up, you'll meet them eventually. You must have patience. Your destined may never install a timer," at this the boys features turned to horror, "not everyone believes in them Jack and others are... They are afraid as was my Dear Emma, and your mother."
"Mom was afraid of getting a Timer?"
The large man smiled tenderly at the memory, "She was. She got one at 17 and had held my hand to the point where I couldn't feel my fingers!" He kept the conversation light, although making sure Jack remembered to wait it out.
Jack had remembered waking up a year later in the middle of the night, not to sure what had caused his startle from slumber but checking his clock nonetheless, he did it too often not to. He remembered his excitement and Norths tired, yet happy, expression when he had run into his room without thinking, bouncing up and down while going, "My clock North, my clock! Look!" He remembered his tears of joy and the bear hug his uncle had awarded him.
He remembered being pat on the back and shipped back to bed with a chuckling man behind him. He remembered going to bed much later that night than ever before, pondering about the person who started up his timer. Was it a girl or a boy? Would they be funny like him? Would they enjoy the stories he told and jokes he played? Maybe they'd be blond, or brunette! What color are their eyes? Maybe they'd be smart, or funny, maybe brave and kind! He had tried his hardest to picture the perfect person for himself, but couldn't come up with a thing in the end. Well, he thought as he felt himself drifting off, boy or girl, blond or brunette, whatever eye color, they'd be perfect. Because they'd be his.
Hiccup remembered being six, laying down on a white bed and crying because he was so confused. And so scared. He remembered his father visiting him, telling him he'd be able to go home soon, his red puffy eyes shining with what Hiccup grew to realize was pity. He remembered working hard to accommodate his new leg and never having his question answered when he asked where his mother was. He remembered asking his father, despite the nurses warnings not to, about where she was. He remembered the heart dropping hug he had received as an answer and the tears he knew were falling from both of them. He remembered that being the first and last time his father had been so affectionate toward him. He remembered standing in a black suit, itchy and heavy in more ways than one. He remembered how broken his father had been, how broken he still was.
So it shouldn't have come as a surprise when he turned 13 and he refused his timer. Despite constant urging from his friends and even his usually stay-out-of-timer-bussiness cousin. Even going as far as to get into arguing matches with his father and opening up old wounds. He remembered being cornered on his 14th birthday into an intervention of sorts, two blondes urging him to get one. One with a kind hand and the other with an aggressive fist. He remembered a curly redhead finally having enough and dragging him to a Clock shop. (At 2 in the morning on top of it all.) He remembered yelling at the Scottish girl to let him leave. He remembered watching as the girl paid up front for his clock, telling him it was for the best. He remembered hearing the beep of the clock start up and the gasps that followed.
"By god, that's two years Hiccup!" He remembered a Scottish voice go.
But most of all he remembered the dread that came with it and the tears that burned at the back of his eyes. And the sorrowful looks he got in return, "We're sorry Hiccup..." A soft hand had been placed on his arm.
"We just want you to be happy Hiccup..." An unusually soft voice had finished.
But he was happy. He had friends that always looked after him, even when they over did it. A cousin that no longer treated him like an out cast. And a strange cat that seemed more human than anything else. He didn't need a soulmate, especially one that would leave him a broken mess like his father. No, getting a clock was completely counter productive in Hiccup’s eyes.
Though dread had filled his heart he resolved to not remove the clock, so as to not sadden his friends any more.
But that had been two years ago and now Hiccup was staring at a clock that was counting down far too quickly. A clock that would have had most people excited. A clock that had one day left to go.
"Arent cha excited Hiccup? Tomorrow ya get to meet yer soul mate!"
"Yeah, ecstatic." Hiccup tried, looking down at his clock once more, heart pounding fearfully at it.
"You don't sound very excited about it..."
"No, I am Rapunzel! I mean, it's great... It's, you know, my... Soul mate..." The freckled teen finished lamely.
Both girls stopped in their tracks, looking at each other in worry. "He's probably nervous." Both girls turned to the darkly dressed girl smiling at Hiccup, her hand on his shoulder. "My dad was the same way, in fact the very first thing he did when he met my mom was trip over himself." She said, earning an amused smile from the boy and giggles from the girls. "You'll be fine Hiccup." She reassured before walking before them toward school.
"Thanks Mavis." He quickly went before she was out of reach.
"Any time!" She called behind herself.
"So yer nervous? Ah, don't worry about it Hiccup, I'm sure she'll like you fine. Even if you do end up tripping all over yerself." She links her arms with Hiccup and Rapunzel copies her action, both girls dragging Hiccup toward their school.
"Or he!" Rapunzel added helpfully, "You never know who your soul mate will be nowadays."
"Well yah do got a point there, I bet he'd be a keeper. A cutie just for Hiccup.” And at this point Hiccup figured it was fine to drift off, he didn't really care whether it was a boy or girl. The effect would be the same either way.
He was tired of having everyone look at his clock and encourage him. He was tired of worrying about a future with a stranger. He was tired of the fear of ending up alone and broken. He didn't want encouragement, he didn't want a strangers love and most of all he didn't want to end up in unbearable pain. He had enough of that at age six.
"Hiccup? Hiccup? Hiccup!"
Green eyes snapped up to sea like blue ones, "Oh, uh, sorry Merida. Yeah?"
She sent another look toward Rapunzel, "Nothin’... You sure yer okay?"
"Yeah, just nervous. I'm fine." And by fine he meant he was cracking under the fear and pressure of that stupid fucking clock. Panic almost bursting under the seems and desperate to find a way out.
Both girls shared another look before simply nodding at him, smiling and leading him inside their school.
School had dragged on. Receiving more heart sinking encouragement and cat like calls. A rough pat on the back that nearly sent him flying from Astrid and was thankfully caught in time by Snoutlout before being tossed back and forth by the Rough-Touch twins and being eventually suffocated by very meaty arms. And that was only his morning.
After school he was dragged off to 'celebrate' at the Haweewee Restaurant. Earning another word of congratulations from Nani and her Timer match, David. He was treated to dinner and dessert and although he did enjoy himself (despite the disturbance that arrived half way through in the form of a blue fuzz ball that was actually very amusing if very destructive) he couldn't keep the damn watch out of his head. So when he got home, it being void of anyone but Toothless, as per usual, he scratched his cat behind the ear, feed him and headed up to his room.
Now that he was alone there was no one to distract him. No one to stop him from drowning in his mind with every negative thought he's had since he was younger. No one to stop Hiccup from being over flooded by panic and desperation. No one to stop him from punching a hole through both his windows and using his bloodied hands to yank hopelessly at his clock afterward. Grabbing at a piece of glass when his yanking attempt failed him and trying to fit the piece under the already cracked clock. Ending up on his hands and knees on a pile of broken glass with tears blurring his vision. His head was hazy, barely hearing the desperate meowing at his door or the heavy footsteps that followed much later.
Barely heard the pity in his father's voice as he helped him up, dragging him to the bathroom to treat his injuries. Blood running down his right arm, covering the crack in his timer. Cuts on his knees and both palms. Halfway through his fathers clumsy attempts to treat him Hiccup almost mechanically took the supplies from his father. He was never really one for first aid, that had always been his mother. The thought made his resolve final. He wasn't going to find his soul mate. He was going to stay home, keep his timer broken, stay hauled up in his room to prevent himself from meeting his Soul mate. He was better off without one.
However plans may go his were ruined the next morning when his door was kicked open to reveal a group of his friends in his room. Merida wasted no time in dashing at his side and grabbing his arm, soon followed by Astrid.
"Oh, Hiccup, how could you?" He heard Rapunzel behind them.
He didn't respond, averting his gaze and looking at the wall sadly. "We have to get it fixed." To everyone surprise it had been Snotlout who had said it, voice commanding and leaving no room for argument.
Though argue is what Hiccup seemed to be born to do. "No."
"No! What do ya mean no!"
"Exactly what no means."
"Right now is not the time for your smart ass attitude to come out Hiccup!" Astrid snapped, shaking him.
Hiccup ignored her shaking and just about everything else, yanking his hand from Merida's grip and attempting to pull the blankets back over himself. And attempt he did as he felt a resistance to the pull of his blanket. He attempted to yank harder but soon his blanket was ripped right out of his grasp. He looked up to see Rapunzel and Mavis holding the sides of his blanket. Why the fuck did he have so many unnaturally strong friends?
"You have to get it fixed." For a kid that dressed darkly Mavis sure did pin on love ethics as if she knew better than anyone.
Hiccup wouldn't be surprised if she fell foolishly hard for her soul mate. (Although she didn't wear a timer, believing in some other strange way to find her soul mate.) "No." Hiccup curled up and inched further away from the group in his room, throwing his pillow over his face.
"But Hiccup, don't you wanna be happy?" Fishlegs tried for a last desperate measure, his voice full of worry and heartfelt innocence.
"I am happy." Hiccup mumbled, he didn't understand why his friends thought he needed a partner to be happy.
"No yer not!" Merida snapped, he felt his bed shift back and knew that she had stood in the outburst.
"Hiccup, are you still thinking about what happened to your father?" He heard Astrid ask and the room went deathly quiet, Hiccup stiffening at the question unable to find It in himself to answer.
"You can't keep being scared forever!" And once more to his surprise he heard Snoutlout, although that surprise didn't earn him a response.
"You can't keep that from holding you back Hiccup," Rapunzel urged softly.
"Come on Hiccup..." Fishes threw in.
And as if to join in trying to convince Hiccup Toothless jumped on his bed, nuzzling his nose against Hiccups face. But he would not be moved.
"No. Go away."
He ignored the dio groans of frustrations. "He's not gonna go." He heard the Tough twin say, speaking since they all barged in, reminding him that they were there.
"Yes he will! He's got to!" The Rough twin responded, probably along with a shove, though Hiccup couldn't see them.
“Look at him! Hes been like this for years!”
“So! Hiccups gonna find his soul mate, hes gonna be happy! As his friends we have to make sure of it!”
“Im just saying-”
"When I was a baby," Mavis started, earning everyones attention and effectively cutting off the twins soon to have been fist fight. "I used to live in this really traditional village. One day there was a riot there, a witch hunt, I think. My parents were really into gothic decoration and some people thought they were vampires." She paused and took a deep breath before continuing, "My dad tried to hold them back and distract them while my mom snuck out with me. But there-" She paused sniffing and probably wiping her eyes. "There were some people already at the back and... My dad heard a scream." She took another pause, the room being the quietest Hiccup could ever remember despite the times he was by himself.
"But my dad still loves my mom, he says that the time with her was the greatest gift he could have ever had and that he got someone special to brighten his day and remember her by too."
"Oh, Mavis!" He heard Rapunzel nearly sob followed by a squeak like sound.
"I'm..." The room became quiet once more, "I'm not going." As sad as her story might have been it only proved his case further, so he was going to stay in his room, pillow tucked over his face and curled up.
Though had he removed his pillow he might have noticed Merida turn to the twins and nod her head. He might have also noticed them sneak up to him, one grabbing at his legs and the other at his arms. He might have had a fighting chance, though everything considered he probably didn't have much of a chance to begin with. He struggled and pulled at his limbs with all the force he could manage, yet all the twins did was laugh and continue to haul him out. "We'll bring him back with a fixed clock, don't worry!" He heard Merida yell at his father, who was surprisingly home and simply watching the twins drag him away.
He must have been the one who told them. Why couldn't anyone just leave him be? He was fine. He didn't want to get his clock fixed. After all, Soul mates only lived to break your heart.
Hiccup was dragged out of Merida’s family van, arms linked to both Mavis and Astrid. Still as unwilling to be there but having absolutely no choice as they walked through the door. He entered to see a man with his hair in two tails, reminding Hiccup of bunny ears with the way they hung low. "Hello- crikey what happened to his clock?" He immediately asked, cutting off his own professional greeting.
Hiccup didn't bother explaining, one of his friends would surely do it for him. "He broke it." Astrid told him.
"Well yeah he broke it. How did he break it?"
"He broke it."
He raised an eyebrow before realization took over his features. "I'll go see about gettin' someone to fix him up."
The teens all looked at each other, minus Hiccup who was looking at the ground and had been doing so since the man had understood Astrid’s explanation. Clause, as in Santa Clause? A tall man stepped out from behind a curtain, "Da, Da, what is it bunny?"
The man rolled his eyes, “We got a special case here."
The man looked at Hiccup then down to his watch, "I see. I'll have someone assist him." He told the group.
He pulled at a bell behind bunny, "Coming North!"
The voice had gotten Hiccup’s attention strangely enough more than the tall Russian man had. And as he was taken behind the curtain, arms being let go once they were in and pushed toward the direction of a chair, a boy came bounding down the stairs. And to the surprise of everyone in the room an echo of beeps were heard. The white haired boy looked at his clock as Hiccup gaped, checking his clock as the taller boy turned to smile at him. Hiccup flushed, lips down turning into an embarrassed frown before looking up at the brightly smiling boy in front of him, heart skipping a beat.
"Hey..." He greeted, smile never wavering.
And Hiccup guessed it wasn't so bad.