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Words of Meaning

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“I’m okay. I’m- I’m okay, Astrid. I’m fine!”

Astrid’s jaw clenched in frustration when Hiccup attempted to still her hands. She didn’t believe a word he was telling her, but she wasn’t about to waste time arguing with him about it either.

There were much more important matters that needed tending to.

Such as the piece of metal stuck in his gut that she wasn't sure what to do with.

They had been trying to free captured dragons. The Trappers they were trying to rescue them from supposedly hid some more foreign species in the large cave system they guarded far outside their camp and the two of them along with Toothless and Stormfly decided to seek them out while the rest of their team took care off things outside.

It took them long enough to find where they were being kept. The group of four had defeated enough Trappers to get this far. Whatever they were trying to protect, it should’ve been worth it. What they found instead was a trap most likely meant for the Dragon Riders, if not for the Dragon Rider himself, and it got their intended target.
Astrid's ears were still ringing from the explosion as she tried to tend to her betrothed's injuries.

Opening the door caused a spark to ignite some Monstrous Nightmare gel. That, in turn, was meant to set off these metal barrels of Zippleback gas stored in the back of the cell.

The trap was successful and the only reason why Astrid had remained mostly unscathed was because Hiccup noticed what threat lurked in the shadows before she did and managed to push her behind cover. It was with enough strength that she could’ve sworn she had been thrown, he hadn't held back.

A deafening explosion went off and heat had filled the cave’s chamber. It caused a cave-in and that meant they were cut-off from their dragon.

"Agh! Gods!" Hiccup tried to restrain himself as Astrid treated him for as much as she was able. She wasn't being too kind about it either, much more concerned about his well-being. He tried to keep every yelp and moan and shout suppressed, but it was a nigh-impossible feat.

His wounds were bad, but at the very least his dragon armour managed to save him from being burned alive in the initial explosion.

It had been mostly blown off, though. Shrapnel of the barrels and surrounding rocks remained lodged in his body as a result. Astrid was trying to get out whatever she could see, any pieces of debris that could be removed and would only make his chances on an infection bigger.

Armed only with a little bit of water in a flask, two daggers, and barely any cloth there was only so much she could do and Hiccup wasn't being helpful.

Understandably so, the process of digging them out was a painful one. To make matters worse, an arm and a knee of his were broken. They were also both covered from head to toe in dirt and grime. A clean scene for a "minor" surgery it was not.

"Can you- Gods, Astrid, stop!" Hiccup didn't mean to snap, but he couldn't stand it anymore. He grabbed one of Astrid's hands as she worked on digging out what was stuck in his side between his ribs. He needed her to stop.

"Hiccup, I need to-"

"I'm fine, Astrid! I'm fine." Regaining his composure, he placed a hand on her cheek. She was almost compelled to believe him.

"The others will find us and you know Toothless and Stormfly are trying to get us out as we speak. Everything will be okay." He must be in so much pain. Not just because of the trap that put them in this predicament, but also because of Astrid's less than careful way of treating him. Yet, there was still this honesty in his eyes.

Astrid sat up straight. Her hands were bloody, but she still wiped her hair out of her eyes. Her braid was nearly completely undone. Her breathing was rapid, she was seething.

She wasn't angry with Hiccup, but with the trap and the Trappers that had placed it here.

Astrid held his hands.

Looking down on the larger metal piece impaled into the right side of his abdomen, her deep frown remained and she felt her stomach churn at the sight. That was the biggest cause for worry.

"Gothi's treated worse and I'm not coughing up blood. Two good things, don't forget that. We just... gotta keep it in." Hiccup told her. Although, Astrid wasn't too sure

"not coughing up blood" didn't particularly mean he wasn't in any danger, he was right about everything else.

She hated this. Hiccup was in pain and she was useless. Two things she already despised separately were now paired together. She wished she could take the hurt away.

It was silent. The campfire made through the use of wood, leftover Nightmare saliva, and the Inferno flickered on the ground near them. Astrid could feel one of Hiccup's thumbs rub the back of her hand.

It was strangely peaceful. In an unnerving kind of way.

"Hiccup, realisticly speaking, your chances-"

"Fishlegs is rubbing off on you, Astrid. Don't think about the chances, okay? I need you to believe me. What did I tell you back on the Edge? When you- when you... After you got hit by lightning?" Hiccup asked her and Astrid almost smiled at the memory. It was hard to hold it back.

"You told me that there will always be a Hiccup and Astrid. In whatever way I wanted it to mean." Though the reality of the situation didn't allow her to smile, Hiccup did so in her place. He could see her tense shoulders relax just a bit.

Astrid could've sworn she heard him mutter a quiet "good" before resting his head and gazing up at the stone ceiling above them.

Muttonhead. Hiccup was a muttonhead. With his stupid positivity, his stupid stubbornness, and his stupidly effective words. Did he have any idea what he did to her? Even after all these years? Even back when their friendship had been young and new?

It took Astrid a while, still staring at the object impaling her lover, to notice Hiccup's affectionate gesture had stopped. His grip had lightened as well.

"Hiccup?" Curiously tearing her gaze away from her current source of hatred, she looked back up to his face. Was he starting to sweat? His forehead looked slightly clammy.

"Hey, Dragon Boy." She tried again, smiling, but wasn't given a response this time either.

Panic set in.

“Hiccup? Hiccup, babe? Babe?!” His lack of an answer was terrifying to her and she gripped his shoulder.

He wasn’t even unconscious. He was just staring straight ahead, up to the ceiling of the caverns above them. The look in his eyes was blank, unfocused. That was all she could call his usually intense gaze.

They were like a dying flame. Lifeless.

“Hiccup!” Finally, he blinked a couple of times and looked back at her. That was enough to make her smile in relief, but her fear held an icy grip on her heart.

For a moment there, she thought she'd lost him.

So screw it. Screw staying realistic! She needed to hear him say it.

“Tell me, Babe. Tell me you’re going to be okay.” Astrid asked of him, tears welling up in her eyes.

They slipped when he stayed silent, unaware she even asked. He was just staring at her, visibly slipping in and out of consciousness.

What happened? He was talking and smiling just a moment ago. All sunshine and rainbows! How could he deteriorate so quickly?!

"Babe..." Her forehead met with his chest. Letting go of his hand, she cupped a cheek of his instead. His skin felt warmer than before, his temperature was rising. Was an infection already setting in?

This silence was killing her. She wanted to ask him not to leave her, to stay awake, but the words wouldn't roll off her tongue.

There was a flurry of sounds coming from the other side of the wall the cave-in had created. Help was on the way. Yet, Astrid found she could only be comforted by Hiccup telling her that he would be alright. And he was no longer speaking to her.