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Day 31: Embrace

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Hiccup woke with pain lancing through his left foot. Except he didn’t have a left foot. He jerked up, grabbed at what was left of his left leg, a cry yanking itself from his lips. It’d only been a few months without the bottom part of his leg, and Gobber had told him of this, this phantom pain, but he had yet to experience it. It hurt. 

“Ow, ow, ow!” he yelled out, in too much anguish to care about whether or not he would wake his father. He threw his blankets off, clutched at his stump. It felt like his foot was there again, but it wasn’t a good feeling, not when it felt like his toes were being shattered and his foot stabbed with needles. 

Toothless had risen, and he came over to Hiccup, cooing gently. He looked at his stump, then at him.

“I-I’ll be okay, Toothless,” Hiccup stammered. He forgot how long phantom pain could last, but it wasn’t permanent. He’d be okay once it was over. 

But it wasn’t over. Not yet. It felt like needles were being pierced all the way through his shin to his calf, all the way through his ankle. Hiccup moaned loudly, then couldn’t hold in a scream. There were loud crashing sounds from downstairs, and then heavy footsteps on the stairs.

“Hiccup!” Stoick called, rushing into the loft. It was dark, but he was able to make it over to his bed, Toothless making room for him. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

“Ph-phantom pain,” Hiccup got out. He looked to his father with tears in his eyes. “It- it’s really bad.”

Toothless had taken the initiative and used a low flame to light the candles on Hiccup’s nightstand. It left a low, flickering light in the room. 

Stoick sighed and sat down on the bed by Hiccup, put a hand on his back. “This is the first time it’s happened?” he asked.

Hiccup grit his teeth and nodded. Stoick wrapped his arms around him, held him up against his chest. That felt good even though it didn’t do much to combat the pain. It just felt good to be held by his father.

Hiccup was sweating and tense when it was over, trembling in his father’s arms. Toothless had curled up by their side, pressed against Hiccup to provide comfort.

“Feeling any better?” Stoick asked, noticing Hiccup’s silence.

“Yeah,” Hiccup answered, voice a little hoarse. “It’s gone.”

“Thank Odin.”

Hiccup didn’t. He was afraid of living his life like this, living with missing a limb, with this phantom pain that could come at him at any time. Stoick seemed to sense his discontentment. 

“What is it, son?”

“I don’t want to live like this,” Hiccup answered. He pulled out of Stoick’s arms, looked up at him. “I want my foot back.”

Stoick sighed. “We all want back the things that we lost,” he said. “You’re allowed to grieve, but in grieving comes acceptance. You just haven’t reached that yet.”

“Will I reach it?” Hiccup asked, fearful. Acceptance of life lie this seemed worse.

“Embrace change, Hiccup,” Stoick said, taking him gently by the shoulders. “Think of the good changes instead of the bad.”

Hiccup nodded. “Well, we’re not warring with the dragons anymore, and I have Toothless.” He realized, a foot seemed like a pretty good trade off for that. He looked to Toothless. His dragon stared back, head titled, questioning. Yes. He’d trade anything in the world for this. And he had. He’d traded part of a limb. 

“It’s worth that,” Hiccup realized, putting a hand on Toothless. “Peace is worth that.”

Stoick nodded, and, seemingly emotional, hugged him again. Hiccup smiled tiredly against his father’s chest.