I can honestly say I have no idea where this came from. I was just watching the movie for for god-knows-how-many-time, when I finally wondered why Ruffnut and Tuffnut were so cruel to one another but never left each other's side. Also wanted to write something on Ruffnut's obvious crush on Hiccup and how she felt once Astrid and Hiccup were together...and it somehow turned into this little angst fest.
Hope you enjoy.
Tuffnut was well aware that being a teenager on Berk was tough. Being a Viking warrior teen on Berk was even tougher, but being a female Viking warrior was close to impossible. Most girls on Berk were excused from duty, training in how to keep crops and animals alive, how to heal wounds, and countless other mundane tasks that kept Berk from staying a broken, burning wreck every time a dragon raid showed up. It was a rare few that forced themselves into the fray, usually those from proud families who had no son to carry on the tradition. It was certainly that for Astrid.
But not Ruffnut. She hadn't shown any superior skill to anyone else, her family had a son, there was nothing that said she had to...and yet they knew she was expected to fight because Tuffnut would.
The twins had figured it out when they were very young that people didn't see them as two entities. They were actually pretty certain many villagers weren't certain who was named what. They weren't the girl 'Ruffnut' and the boy 'Tuffnut,' just 'Ruffnut-and-Tuffnut.' The twins, one person with two bodies. Zippleback cut in two. When one succeeded, both were praised, and when one screwed up, both were blamed, regardless of whether or not the other had actually been there. They were twins, and twins looked out for each other, so they should stay together. When they were kids they didn't mind – it meant they had something special, that no one else in the village did. They shared everything, even finished each other's sentences, and would go to hell and back for each other. When Ruff found out Tuff could sleep under the window because of the light, they switched beds. And when Ruff got a pining for seabird eggs, Tuff would climb the cliffs to find a nest.
They'd actually been happy to spend all day together.
At first Ruffnut had been happy to be selected for putting out fires, with the knowledge she would train to be a warrior when she came of age. Tuffnut had been happy for her, until Ruffnut had fallen and nearly been eaten by an overhead Gronkle. She'd been saved, but their father had rounded on Tuffnut.
"What were you doing?"
"What? I was-I didn't..."
"You protect your sister! That's your job isn't it?"
Neither had liked the implication. That Ruffnut wasn't capable of doing the job alone. Or that Tuffnut would be expected to protect her at every turn.
Then the opposite had happened. Tuffnut got carried off, saved by a throwing net that grounded the beast, and Ruffnut had borne the brunt of blame for not taking care of him.
They were twins. Like the Zippleback, born to be forever bound.
Conclusion? They were nothing, without each other.
That's when they'd started to fight, Tuffnut remembered. In their naive little minds they'd thought that if they'd shown they couldn't get along, maybe they'd be separated for their own good. Then they could show that they could take care of themselves. That they didn't have to be 'Ruffnut-and-Tuffnut-the-Twins.' They could be singular, useful, Vikings in their own right.
It hadn't worked, but they'd kept it up, raised the intensity of their fights, till neither could even remember how to say a good thing about their sibling. By the time either realised what had happened, it was too late to change. Tuffnut's affectionate sister who would grin at the slightest joke shifted into a snapping, insulting she-devil, while Ruffnut's brother who would do her braids in the morning became a brute that seemed to loathe her very presence.
Instinct drove them to fight, and expectations kept them from leaving each other.
The worst part for both of them had been in the Training Grounds, when Gobber told them the best recruit would have the honour of killing their first dragon in front of the village. The best recruit. Singular. Which they were not. Even if they ran rings around the others, they wouldn't win, because no one in the village would ever say one of them was better than the other.
They would always be doomed to never reach higher than second place.
Tuffnut knew he wasn't a great warrior. Oh he liked to pretend, even got the stupid tattoo to show off to the others, but he couldn't even take on a Terrible Terror without freaking out. Ruffnut on the other hand, had that intense chip-on-her-shoulder that any Viking warrioress needed to get anywhere. If he wasn't around, she could have gone places – maybe even rivalled Astrid in the ring. Or maybe she would never have been asked to pick up a spear in the first place. And she certainly wouldn't be in the place she was right now. Sitting on the steps of their home, watching Hiccup and Astrid on their dragons with a look of genuine loss on her face. Tuffnut, sitting on the fence, took a deep breath and headed towards the highest point on the island.
Hiccup probably didn't even know he'd hurt Ruffnut – he had that oblivious air to him, always had. But Tuffnut could forgive him for that, it just made him like everyone else in the village. And he had proven years of tradition could be changed. With no more need for dragon warriors, maybe, just maybe...he could get his sister back.
He wondered if there were any birds still laying this time of year...