Ruff and Tuff have an inspiration, and want Hiccup to create it.
|Author’s Note: This is a work of fanfiction. The rights to How to Train Your Dragon remain with Cressida Cowell and Dreamworks. Only the plot is mine.|
I’m sorry, but it’s true.
Hiccup and his dragon had flown for hours to escape Berk’s suffocating heatwave. They returned, Toothless limp with exhaustion. Toothless collapsed on a patch of grass, and Hiccup lay flat on his back beside his friend, closing his eyes.
“Ooh, nice abs. Hiccup’s a lot hotter with his shirt off.”
“I dunno, sis. He’s not a runt any longer, but you’re looking at a fishbone with strange teeth.”
“Well, I don’t mind the view.”
Odin help him, it was the twins. Two skinny blondes with blue eyes, so similar that Hiccup could only tell them apart by their hairstyles. Ruffnut and Tuffnut were bizarre, one moment brilliant, the next absurd. They were violent masochists who banged their heads together and beat each other up as a hobby. The tribe thought of them as a plague on the island, and the only explanation anyone could offer for their antics was “It’s them.”
They were Hiccup’s friends.
“Hiccy. Wake up, Hiccy.” Tuffnut shook Hiccup’s shoulder. “He’s not answering. Do you think he’s dead?”
“Nah, just unconscious. While he’s out, I’m getting a better look at those muscles.”
Hiccup opened his eyes to Ruff’s braids and Tuff’s dreadlocks dangling over his face. “Oh, hey guys. It’s good to see you. Uh, is something going on?”
Ruffnut moved closer. “We’ve been looking for you.”
“You have?” Hiccup pushed himself up and stretched his arms.
“You’ve been avoiding your dad.”
“Yes. Yes, I have.” Hiccup was avoiding everyone today, but Stoick topped the list. Hiccup was only nineteen, and the “once you become Chief” conversations were getting on his nerves.
“We know what you’re doing.” Ruffnut leered at him. “So tell us about the invention.”
“What? There is no invention. I don’t have time to invent. Believe me, I’d like to, but my dad’s dumping Chieftain lessons on me nonstop.” Hiccup ran his fingers over Toothless’s scales. “He’s driving me crazy.”
Ruff and Tuff looked at each other and smiled. “Perfect,” they said.
It was a little creepy.
“You” Tuffnut pointed at Hiccup, “need to get away from all the Chief stuff, and you like to create things. My sister and I have an idea for an awesome invention. You shall take our concept and bring it to life, thusly giving yourself a break. At least a mental one.”
“What is it?” The twins had occasional flashes of genius; this might be one of them.
“It’s kind of a game, kind of a toy.”
“What is it supposed to do?” Hiccup pulled out his notebook and opened it to a fresh page. “Can it move, or is it stationary, like a game board?”
“You throw it for another person to catch, right sis?”
“Nah, it’s more like it flies through the air and someone else has to grab it.”
Hiccup wrote down both answers.“This idea of yours—is it more like a ball or a shuttlecock?”
Tuff grabbed Hiccup’s notebook and charcoal. “It’s not either of those. I didn’t think we had to draw you a picture. That’s supposed to be your job.” He sketched for a moment. “Voila.”
“Okay, it’s a circle. Do you want a hoop?” Making a hoop fly was tricky, but a ramp ought to get it airborne.
“That’s not a circle, it’s a disk. The edges come down so you can grab it. Like an upside down bowl. But not a deep one, it’s—what’s the word, Sis?”
“Shallow. Make it a fingertip deep. We know you can do it, because you’ve invented weird flying stuff before.” She thrust her face into Hiccup’s. “So, you gonna do it?”
“I’ll do a few preliminary sketches,” the twins high-fived one another, “but no promises about making your…what do you call it?”
“It’s the Flying Remarkable Innovation Supplying Boundless Exciting Entertainment. I,” Tuffnut thumped his hand to his chest, “came up with the name.”
“Yeah, great name, but I’m going to call it the disk.”
Tuffnut nudged his sister. “Hiccup thought up a name. He’s totally going to make one.”
“Uh-huh. He said sketches, plural. There’s no going back.”
“I guarantee nothing.” Hiccup’s voice was flat. “This disk is a maybe. I’ve got a ton of other stuff, and don’t have time for anything else.” He crossed his arms. “Do you get that?”
“Okay, okay, we’ll wait. You don’t have to get so picky.” Ruff rolled her eyes.
“Yeah, yeah, what she said. Personally, I want to see how you use the netting.” Tuff reached down to scratch Toothless. “It’s tricky to work with, but my sister and I concur you are up to the task.”
“The netting you’re using to create the Flying Remarkable…” he stopped short at Hiccup’s look, “the disk.”
“Don’t be an idiot, Bro. Hiccup’s using leaves. The crunchy ones—they float better.”
Oh, gods. “I’m not using dead leaves, Ruff.”
Ruffnut picked up a twig. “I see. Sticks lack the panache of leaves, but I suppose they’ll do.”
Hiccup grabbed the stick. “Look, you muttonheads, it can’t have holes or the disk won’t fly. Dead leaves will crumble before I can assemble anything. Sticks aren’t aerodynamic and rocks are too heavy. The material has to be solid and light enough to stay airborne.” Hiccup’s notes filled the parchment, and he turned to the next page. “I could try leather.”
The twins began walking away. “Okay, we’re going to leave you to it.”
“Yep. Bye for now.”
“Yeah, see you guys later.” Hiccup’s ideas were fresh and he began writing them down. He heard Tuffnut’s voice fading away.
“I told you it would work.”
“That was too easy.”
Hiccup stared at their retreating backs as Toothless began laughing at him.
The twins weren’t the muttonheads. He was.
Ruff and Tuff had played him. Hiccup’s imagination took over and now the disk sat at the top of his invention list. He had to make it or go insane.
He glanced at his dragon. “What do you think about stiffened leather?” Toothless rolled on his back, laughing again.
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