7. The Selfless Act

In the weeks that followed, Berk was rebuilt and its people recovered from the battle. Those who had died had their respective funerals and those who had been wounded were well taken care of. They were thankful for the commotion and being so busy, it kept their curious minds occupied until the only witnesses who could tell them what happened between Hiccup and Dagur were conscious. In the meantime, their mothers and the Night Furies kept a vigilant watch over their recovery. Merida was the first to wake up, soon revealing that she had taken Toothless to rescue the only dragon on Dagur’s ship, the female Night Fury which she had named Morrigan, and had returned to find Dagur and Hiccup locked in battle.

“Toothless insisted upon helping Hiccup battle Dagur, though he probably had it taken care of. Morrigan and I helped Toothless fend some archers off, but I think they had orders from Dagur to kill only Hiccup, and we were keeping them occupied long enough for Hiccup to have a fair battle. One did manage to slip past our defenses and shoot at Hiccup. I don’t know what I was thinking besides needing to save Hiccup, but, I-I jumped between Hiccup and the arrow.”

“Merida! That was . . .”

“Foolish, I know, I know,” sighed Merida.

“One of the bravest things you’ve ever done.” Elinor smiled proudly at her daughter.

“Really?” Elinor nodded, and Merida hugged her, “Thanks Mom. Anyway, Morrigan took out that archer before he could take another shot, and suddenly Dagur was there. He began talking to Morrigan, trying to get her to leave me so he could finish me off, but I don’t think Morrigan liked being in that cage since she refused to budge. Thankfully Hiccup engaged him before he could come up with a plan to move Morrigan away from me.”

“Wait, wasn’t Hiccup already fighting Dagur?”

“Uh, yeah.”

“So why did he have to re-engage him?”

Elinor gasped, “Hiccup was changing back into a human.” Merida nodded and grinned as her audience gasped.

“Why didn’t you say that before?”

Merida laughed, “I was coming to that since Toothless was so happy at Hiccup being back to normal that he knocked over Dagur just so he could lick him!” Everyone laughed.

“What happened next?”

“Well, Hiccup and Dagur got locked into battle again, their blades ringing against the sounds of battle. More archers appeared out of the mist, the Night Furies sent as many of them as they could back into the mist, I tried to help as much as I could, but being hurt made it difficult. The next thing I know, Hiccup had returned to me, wanting to take care of my wound before it got too bad. I asked him about Dagur, Hiccup had disarmed him and sent him running.” A lot of chuckles erupted at that statement. “But, Dagur wasn’t done. He went and grabbed a bow from one of his archers, aimed it at Hiccup, and shot him.” Merida paused as her audience gasped, it was all in the past now, but thinking about it still hurt for some reason. “And then, the both of us lost consciousness, where you found us. Was Morrigan really furiously protecting me?” she glanced at Snotlout when she asked the question.

“Well yeah, Toothless had to move her just so your mom could tend to your wounds.” The others nodded, adding bits of Morrigan’s actions, but Merida wasn’t paying much attention. She had noticed movement outside and her heart skipped a beat. Could it be?

“Well, that’s great and all, but I feel like stretching my legs and checking on Morrigan. After everything she’s done for me, it’s the least I can do.”

“Letting her out of her cage was plenty,” remarked Astrid as she rose to help Elinor usher everyone out.

“You think so?” asked Merida as she followed Astrid out of the hut.

“I know so, dragons like their freedom, cages aren’t their thing.”

“I don’t blame them, it gets cramped.”

Astrid laughed, “Exactly, you see? Letting her out of that cage has won you her trust and her undying friendship. She couldn’t have made a better choice.”

“Thanks Astrid, I’m going to take a stroll around the center before checking up on Morrigan.”

“Think you’ll be alright?”

“Yeah, I just need a stretch, get my legs moving again.”

Astrid nodded, “Alright, see you at the Dragon Academy!” Merida waved back at Astrid before the two separated. Merida went around the village a few times, politely responding to inquiries about her health, before stopping at her destination. She watched the activity in the smithy for a few minutes, stepping in only when she caught a glimpse of a brown-haired lad. Hoping it was the one she was thinking of, she followed him further into the smithy, pausing at the door frame leading into the saddle area. She glanced down at his feet and smiled, it was him.

“So, no visits, nothing? Not even sending someone else in to see how I’m doing?”

“Ah! Merida! Don’t sneak up on me like that!”

“Oh? Why not? I think I shall do it more often, it’s fun,” she grinned.

“Are you sure telling me is a good idea? Because now I’ll just expect it and I won’t be surprised anymore,” replied Hiccup, crossing his arms.

“That’s fine, because this was payback for not checking in on me. Have you been here this whole time?”

“Y-yes, I asked Astrid about you when I could, but, I-I . . . I wanted to take my mind off of what happened. I-I couldn’t stand seeing you like that.” Hiccup went back to the saddle he had started on, letting the silence settle like a fog.

“I didn’t like watching Dagur shoot you,” Merida finally whispered. Hiccup paused, turned, and pulled her into a hug. She breathed in the smells of smoke, leather, and dragon, her hand feeling the rapid beating of his heart, he was alive, that was all that mattered.

She glanced up at him, “But what about you and Astrid?”

He shrugged, “Guess that ship sailed a while ago.”

“Hey Hiccup! How’s that saddle coming? That Scottish princess better not be distracting you!”

Hiccup quickly let go and went back to working on the saddle, “No she’s not, and it’ll be done soon!”

“Good, don’t want to keep King Taran waiting! He needs it by tonight!”

“Thank you Gobber!”

“No problem!” Hiccup groaned and rolled his eyes while Merida snorted.

She cleared her throat, “Need some help?”

“If you want to.”

“Why does it need to be done by tonight?”

“We’re making the pact official tonight, between Berk, Scotland, and Prydain,” grinned Hiccup. Merida whooped and kissed him. Hiccup pulled back, stunned by the motion, but quickly went back in for another.

“Hiccup! We have a deadline!”

Hiccup moaned, “I know, Gobber! It will be done by tonight!” Merida snickered, pausing when they heard a snort from outside the window.

“Toothless!”

“Morrigan!” They rushed forward to pet their dragons.

“Why did you name her Morrigan?”

“Morrigan is the dark goddess of battle and death, a good name for a Night Fury, don’t you think?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“A lot better than the names you come up with.”

“What? What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Toothless? Hiccup? Don’t you have any imagination?”

“Hey, those are good, simple names.”

“Oh?” Merida hiccuped before bursting out laughing.

“Ha ha, very funny. Toothless, knock it out!”

“Ya know, the two of ya could have just said ya wanted to try out the princess’ saddle, I can finish up King Taran’s saddle.”

“G-Gobber!”

Merida gasped, “You made me a saddle? Where is it?” Gobber tossed a saddle onto the floor.

Merida gasped as she picked it up, “Why it even has places for arrows and a bow! You think of everything!” She promptly planted a kiss on Hiccup’s cheek before dashing out of the smithy to try it on Morrigan.

“Well, what are ya waiting for? Go on!” Gobber shooed him out, then settled down to finish King Taran’s saddle.

“Wait, Merida, hold up!” Hiccup quickly joined her and helped her place the saddle on Morrigan. The two took off into the sky, leaving their worries far below, just enjoying the moment. Later that evening, there was much celebration, the pact was finalized. Valka hugged her son.

“You did it, Hiccup, you’ve brought them all together. Your father would be proud.”

“Thanks, Mom, these guys are easier to handle than Drago.” Valka smiled knowingly at her son before relinquishing her spot to Merida.

“Well you’ve done, you won’t be seeing the last of the Scots.”

Hiccup laughed, “The Scots are a better sight than some Viking tribes.”

“I’ll take your word on that, though you might be eating those words.” She pointed at the scene unraveling before them. The Scots had started a brawl, and several of the Vikings had joined in on it.

Hiccup sighed, “Well, this is just the beginning, it’ll take a while before the changes finally set in.”

Merida chuckled, “Yeah, just the beginning, of something good.” She smiled at him as her fingers intertwined with his. He smiled back and kissed her, then glanced at the continuing brawl.

“Uh, any ideas on how to get them to stop?”

“Stories usually do. Come on, I’m sure we all have amazing adventures to share.” She pulled him into the midst of the fight, and began telling a story.

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