"What if he doesn't like me?"
Tuffnut's head appeared over the rail to Ruffnut's bunk. "What if who doesn't like you?"
"Hiccup! What if he doesn't like me?" the girl repeated, turning to her brother.
"Of course he likes you, Ruff," Tuffnut told her.
"No, I mean…what if he doesn't like me like…like I like him?"
"Then…I don't know. He doesn't, I guess," Tuffnut said. "…Come down here."
Ruffnut did as she was told and took a seat beside Tuffnut on his bunk.
"Alright, what's on your mind today?" the boy asked, beginning to undo his sister's braids.
Ruffnut was quiet for a while. Finally, she said, "What if he doesn't like me? What if he never does? What if no one ever does? No one's shown any interest in me at all. …What am I doing wrong? Am I too loud? Too violent? Do I talk too much? What if I'm too tomboy-ish?"
She fell silent as Tuffnut continued to unbraid her hair. He said nothing, waiting for her to continue. And she did.
"Maybe I'm not…impressive enough. I'm skinny enough, right? Or am I too skinny?"
"You're fine," Tuffnut said and, as expected, he was ignored.
"Is my chest too small? It's stupid, but guys pay attention to that…" She paused, playing with her necklace. After a moment she continued, "You know, I don't ask for much…right?"
"No, you don't," Tuffnut said.
Ruffnut let out a sigh. "I just…I just feel like I'm not good enough sometimes. No one has ever called me cute, or pretty, or anything. It's always weird, or rude, or 'ignore her, she's just one of the twins.' They think we're stupid or something. But we're not. Why is it so important to be smart?"
"It's not. Everyone just thinks it is, but they're wrong," Tuffnut offered.
Ruffnut thought for a short while as her brother began to rebraid her hair. She wondered what he would come up with this time.
"…Am I trying too hard? Or not hard enough? I just want someone to like me…to love me…for me. I want someone to tell me I'm pretty, to say that I'm beautiful…I just think that…I might start to believe it if I heard someone say it. That's…that's all I want. I want him to say it most of all…I just want to feel like I'm good enough for someone…"
"…You're more than good enough for me," Tuffnut said softly. Ruffnut didn't say anything at first.
Then, "What is it this time?"
A tiny smile graced the girl's lips.
"Ruff, why do you say these things? Why do you tell yourself you're not good enough? And you are pretty. You're beautiful, and I'll keep telling you that until you tell yourself that. And even then I'll keep saying it, because it's true. You don't need to do anything different."
He wrapped his arms around her shoulders and continued.
"I know Hiccup's opinion means a lot to you, but why? What he thinks of you shouldn't be more important than what you think of yourself. And besides, you'll always have someone that will tell you you're good enough, you're beautiful, and you're perfect the way you are."
Ruffnut's smile grew and she leaned back against Tuffnut's frame.
"I'm sorry for always doing this. I know I shouldn't, but it's hard…I'm glad you put up with it."
"What kind of brother would I be if I didn't listen to you when you needed to talk?"
"A lousy one," she teased. "…Thanks."
"Mhm…and hey, I think Hiccup does like you," Tuffnut said.
"…What makes you say that?" Ruffnut asked quietly.
"It's just…I've seen how he looks at you when no one is paying attention. Well…almost no one," he said, chuckling. "It's…I dunno. It's different."
Ruffnut shook her head and smiled. "Don't get caught."
"I won't," her brother said. "At least, I hope not."
They both laughed. Then Tuffnut asked, "You feeling better?"
The girl nodded. "Yeah, I'm feeling much better. Thanks." She kissed his cheek and rested her head under his chin.
"You tired?" Tuffnut asked. Ruffnut nodded again. "Want to take a nap?"
"Then go ahead."
"…I love you," Ruffnut murmured.
"I love you too," Tuffnut replied.
The girl sighed quietly and closed her eyes, falling asleep just seconds later.
After a few minutes, Tuffnut got off the bunk. He gently placed Ruffnut back on the bunk and pulled the blanket over her, careful not to wake her up.
Then, grabbing his helmet, he went to find Hiccup.