Everyone was waiting to start dinner in the Great Hall after a long day of class. Surprisingly, not much got done.
And, actually, not everyone was in the Great Hall. The twins were nowhere to be found.
That is, until the doors to the Great Hall slammed open, a surprising feat given the doors' massive size and weight. Everyone turned their attention to the entrance to the building where a two-headed dragon stood in the doorway. That answered the question as to how the doors were slammed.
"Ruffnut? Tuffnut?" Gobber asked, concerned. The others watched in silence as Barfbelch ran into the hall, skidding to a halt a few feet away from the tables, causing a curse to sound from the rider before the dragon lowered one of his heads.
Tuffnut was holding onto Barf's horn while he held a limp Ruffnut in his arm.
They immediately went to Gothi. Tuffnut waited with the others while the elder examined Ruffnut. Gobber was asking him questions for Gothi.
"So, what happened exactly?" the man asked. Tuffnut shrugged and said, "I don't know. We were about to head to dinner when she stopped walking. She was holding her head when I turned around and said she suddenly felt dizzy. Then she just…blacked out, I guess…"
"Did she hit her heard?" Gobber then asked. The boy shook his head. "I caught her before she fell."
Gobber was quiet for a few seconds before saying, "I don't suppose there was anything else?"
"Well…for a while she was shivering, but that stopped before we got to the hall," Tuffnut told him. Gobber nodded. "Okay. I'll tell Gothi what you told me."
"Is she going to be okay?"
Gobber sighed and shook his head. "I don't know, Tuffnut. I don't know."
The kids watched as the man went into the house, and then turned their attention to Tuffnut when he started to shake.
"Hey, it'll be okay," Astrid said gently, placing a hand on the boy's shoulder. "But what if it's not?" he said. "Nothing like this has ever happened to her before. I…I'm scared." He added that last part in a whisper. None of the kids knew what to say or do after that. They've never had to deal with something like this with Tuffnut. It was…weird.
It was a while before Gobber came back out. Tuffnut's gaze, which had been on the ground, flicked up to the man as he walked over. His expression made Tuffnut more afraid.
"Gothi doesn't know what's wrong with her. She…she says Ruffnut's in a coma. It's best to just take her home now," he said. Tuffnut nodded and silently walked into the house. He came back out a few minutes later carrying his sister.
The kids watched as he left without a word, the twins' Zippleback flying away back to the village.
"Gobber…what if she doesn't wake up?" Hiccup asked. Gobber put his hand on the boy's shoulder and said, "Let's just pray that she does."
A few days had gone by since Ruffnut went into a coma. It was a miracle when Tuffnut came out of his house. His parents said that he almost never left Ruffnut's side.
More days past to add up to a little over a week since this all started. There were still no sings of Ruffnut waking up.
The kids finally had enough of Tuffnut's moping. They managed to convince him to spend a day away from his sister.
"Staying inside isn't helping anything," Hiccup said. Tuffnut glanced back at his house. "But-"
"No 'buts,'" Astrid interrupted. "Gobber's going to stay with Ruffnut while you're gone."
"And besides, you won't be gone for that long," Fishlegs added. "Just for a day."
Tuffnut looked hesitant. With a sigh, he finally said, "I guess I have been spending a little too much time inside…"
"That's the spirit!" Snotlout said with a grin.
The day went by relatively fast. The kids managed to get a genuine smile and laugh out of Tuffnut and got him to actually talk again.
The sun was setting when the group of riders went home. When they reached the Thorston house however, they found Gobber waiting outside.
"Gobber? Why aren't you with Ruffnut?" Hiccup asked. Gobber was silent as he turned to them.
"I'm sorry," he finally said. Shock immediately took over the kids. Tuffnut pushed to the front of the group. "What do you mean 'sorry?' What happened?" he demanded, voice shaking.
"I mean," Gobber said, "I'm sorry. We can't do anything for her. She won't get any better."
Tuffnut's voice was just above a whisper.
For a few seconds, everyone was quiet. Then Gobber started laughing.
"I had you goin' there, didn't I?" he asked. The kids were a mix of confusion and disbelief about him laughing.
"Come on out, they're waiting," the man said over his shoulder.
"Gobber, what are…you…" Tuffnut began, but his voice faded as someone walked out from behind the large man.
"Gobber, that wasn't very nice," Ruffnut said with a quiet chuckle, crossing her arms.
Ruffnut looked at her brother and gave a wave. "Yep. I woke up a couple hours ago. Gobber told me what happe-"
She didn't get the chance to finish the sentence. Tuffnut cut her off when he almost caused them to fall over with a hug.
"Whoa-Tuff, I ca-n't breathe," Ruffnut gasped, pushing him away so she could see his face.
"Tuff…are you crying?" she asked.
"I thought I was going to lose my best friend, idiot. Of course I'm crying," he choked out. Ruffnut wiped a tear from her brother's face before she hugged him, saying, "I'm sorry for scaring you, Tuff."
"You scared all of us," Astrid said, walking over. "It's good to have you back," she added.
"Group hug!" Fishlegs said before he and the others came over.
"Okay, okay, you missed me, I get it," Ruffnut said, squirming a little. "Now get off!"
Gobber laughed again when Ruffnut struggled to push the others away from her and Tuff.
"I've been out for over a week and I really just want something to eat," she stated. Her stomach growled a second later as if to emphasize her point, making her face turn red in embarrassment. This caused the others to join in with Gobber's laughing.
"Hey! Shut up, I told you I was hungry!" Ruffnt huffed, crossing her arms and grumbling.
"Okay, kids. It's just about time for dinner. So, everyone off to the Great Hall," Gobber told them, shooing them away from the house.
As the group started to migrate toward the Great Hall, the twin's walking arm-in-arm, their Zippleback show up to excitedly push Ruffnut around with their noses.
Barfbelch ended up following the group into the Great Hall when Ruffnut finally got them to stop pushing her around.
Ruffnut and Tuffnut finally went home after several hours of villagers saying how worried they were and how happy and relieved they are now. The girl had started to get overwhelmed by it all.
When they got home, Ruffnut was quickly back to her old self. Which meant Tuffnut was too. Their parents had never been so happy to know that they would have to clean up the mess the kids made while in the bath. (The twins may or may not have taken advantage of that)
Tuffnut was able to get some much needed sleep that night, snoring softly as he lay curled against his sister, her arms around him.