This Story is for the Birds by Emachinescat
A How to Train Your Dragon Fan-Fiction
SUMMARY: After Tuff rescues a bird from a trap, the Riders at the Edge are in for a strange ride – because nothing, not even a new pet, is normal with Tuffnut Thorston around. Jealous chickens, pants-less dragon riders, dramatic monologues, and some truly fowl puns abound in this, a story that is strictly for the birds.
A/N: This whole story was born from a single line – which you will know when you see, I promise you – that I knew I had to incorporate into a story. At first, I was going to label this crack, and then I realized, "No, wait, this is exactly something Tuffnutt would do." And so this little one-shot was born.
The title is a play on words. The idiom "for the birds" essentially means pointless or meaningless, which is a bit of a joke because there's no real plot to this story, just some great moments between our Riders and a lot of Tuffnutt goodness. There are also at least two bird puns in the story, and a reference to Avatar: the Last Airbender. See if you can pick it out. :)
I had the time of my life with this. This is my first HTTYD fic that is not a crossover or a drabble or poem, so a lot of this was playing with the characters and testing the waters. But dear goodness, was it a blast to write. I hope you have just as great of a time reading it as I did writing it! Please, please review! Enjoy!
Tuffnut Thorston was, in many ways, the polar opposite of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third. Tuffnut wasn't innovative – unless it involved new ways to make things explode – he wasn't incredibly soft-hearted; and he certainly wasn't what one would consider an intelligent person, even by Viking standards.
This is why, perhaps, it was so astonishing that he, when he came across a little red bird that had gotten caught in a hunter's trap, immediately took it upon himself to rescue the distressed creature, create a miniature tourniquet on the spot from the ties on his trousers (rendering them, quite unfortunately, completely useless), bind the bird's bleeding leg, and bring the poor thing all the way back to Dragon's Edge, cradling it in his hands as if it were a baby.
Tuff didn't seem to mind or be embarrassed by the fact that his trousers were hanging around his ankles, tripping him up – but he was definitely the only one. When the group got back to their dragons, he took them off so he could mount Belch. He flew all the way back to the Edge like that, in his tunic, boots, and underwear.
For most of the flight home, he fretted to anyone who would listen, and even to those who wouldn't. "Do you think he's going to be okay?" he asked Hiccup, eyes watery.
"Uh… I don't know, Tuff, but we – I – it – c-c'mon, Tuffnut, please don't cry, I—"
He peppered Fishlegs, the most medically inclined of the group, with questions about treatment. "Can you fix him?"
"I think so," Fishlegs responded in a small voice, "if I can just—"
"IF! If, if, if – there's always an if!" lamented Tuff, rubbing the sleeping bird's feathers against his cheek. "Oh, cruel fate, why can you never dole out ands or buts?"
"Hehe," Ruffnutt snickered. "Butts."
"Immature much?" Snotlout sneered, despite the fact that he was at basically the same maturity level as the twins.
"Oh, yeah, Snotface? What do you know, anyway?"
"More than both of you combined," Snotlout deadpanned.
"That's… probably true," Tuffnutt concurred.
"Tuff, I'm sure your bird will be fine," Astrid stepped in, swooping between Barf-n-Belch and Hookfang on Stormfly.
"Yeah," Hiccup smiled reassuringly. "It'll be up and playing with Chicken in no time!"
This was the wrong thing to say. "Chicken," breathed Tuffnut. "Oh. My. Thor. How could I have forgotten about Chicken?" He started muttering to himself, "What if Chicken doesn't like Bird? What if she gets jealous? What if, in a fit of envious rage, she kills us all in the middle of the night and then dies of heartache herself? Oh WOE!" he cried out at the top of his lungs. The other riders jumped. Fishlegs nearly fell off Meatlug.
"For the love of Thor, Tuff, Chicken is not going to–" Hiccup blinked. "Wait a minute. Y-you're telling me that you're going to name that bird, uh, Bird?"
"Mmm… no reason."
Fishlegs nearly got bitten five times while trying to take Bird from Tuffnutt – and it wasn't Bird who was doing the biting. "If you want me to save him, Tuffnutt," grimaced Fishlegs, "you have to let him go."
"Again with the ifs," wailed Tuffnutt. But reluctantly, he let Fishlegs take the bird.
Tuffnutt paced incessantly outside of Fishlegs's hut, Chicken clucking and waddling behind him with every step.
"I know you'll like Bird," Tuffnutt assured Chicken. "He's a real trooper, just like you."
"Thanks for being here for me in my time of need, Chicken," said Tuffnutt. "I'm sorry I thought you would get jealous and kill us all."
Tuffnutt blinked warily. "You won't, will you?"
"I think Tuff has finally lost his mind," Astrid said as she watched the blonde Viking pace and talk to Chicken.
"What do you mean, finally?" Snotlout scoffed. "He's never had one, if you ask me!"
"I just didn't know Tuffnutt would get this attached to a bird he just met," Hiccup mused. He chuckled. "There's a sentence I never thought I'd say."
"Oh, Tuff's always had a soft spot for birds," Ruff said. "He had an owl when we were kids, and a hawk when we were a little bit older kids, and a butterfly when we were even older kids—"
"Butterflies aren't birds, Ruffnut," Astrid said slowly.
"I know," Ruffnutt sighed, "But this is my dopey brother we're talking about. He used to think that anything with wings was a bird. It took us years to convince him that dragons were not giant birds."
The bad part was, no one knew if she was being serious or not, but it was highly possible.
"Let me guess," Snotlout snickered, "The owl's name was Owl, the hawk's name was Hawk, and the butterfly's name was Butterfly."
"Actually, no. The Hawk's name was Hawky."
"Ah," said Hiccup.
"So why are we just now seeing this side of Tuff, anyway?" asked Hiccup.
"He had to give up his bird hobby when we started dragon training," Ruffnut explained. "Chicken's the first fowl friend he's had since Butterfly."
"His first fowl friend?" Astrid smirked. "And here I thought Snotlout was Tuff's first foul friend!" She burst into laughter, along with Hiccup and Ruffnutt.
"What? That's not even funny. I'm not a bird, I'm—" Snotlout frowned in concentration, then reddened. "Oh, I get it. Uncool, Astrid. Uncool."
It took a couple of long hours, but Fishlegs finally told Tuffnutt that he could come in and see Bird. The cute little feathery fluff ball was going to be all right, but unfortunately, Fishlegs had had to amputate the leg that had sustained the most damage from the trap.
"Oh, Bird!" gushed Tuffnut, petting the little red head with two fingers. "The ifs of the cruel, cruel world didn't take you this time! Only your poor, tiny, little bird leg."
Bird hooted, and fell asleep in Tuffnutt's hands.
A few weeks passed, and Bird healed and became quite accustomed to hopping around on his one spindly leg. He gradually regained the strength to fly, and he followed Tuffnutt all over the Edge.
"So, uh, how's Bird doing?" Hiccup asked Tuffnutt after training one chilly spring day. "Adjusting well to the whole leg thing?"
"Oh Bird's great," Tuffnut said wiping a stray tear from his eye as the one-legged bird perched on his shoulder. "He's a fighter, that little guy. Feisty, too. And a great sense of humor. Oh, the jokes he can tell…" Tuffnutt broke off laughing, clutching his sides as Bird squawked indignantly at being dislodged from his resting place. "And gets along with Chicken great, too. Chicken was a little jealous at first, wouldn't talk to me for a week, but now..." He sighed happily. "They chirp and cluck into the wee hours of the night…"
"Ah, okay," Hiccup said, somewhat regretting asking now. "Well, that's—"
"You know, this little bird reminds me a lot of someone I know," Tuffnutt interrupted loudly. "Strong, witty, red-feathered, brave, sometimes annoying, and, of course, one-legged." He looked pointedly at Hiccup.
"Uh, Tuff…?" Hiccup was feeling almost as awkward now as he had been flying back to Dragon's Edge with Tuff in his underwear.
"That is why I have decided to rename the little guy. After all, as you pointed out, Bird isn't exactly the most creative name in my arsenal."
"I didn't mean—"
"And this is why I would like you to be the witness of the christening of the now and forever…" Tuffnutt lifted the twittering bird above his head proudly, "Hiccup Horrendous Haddock… the Bird."
Hiccup dropped his head into his hands. "Oh boy."
A/N: Here's hoping you enjoyed it! Don't forget to let me know what you think! :)
Also, a little shameless plug here – if you're a fan of the anime Durarara! check out my new ficlet called Monster. It's a shortie but sweetie!
I'm definitely planning on writing more HTTYD fics in the future – I'm working on a "what if" episode tag to season 3, episode 1 called "Branded" right now – but for now, please review, and I sincerely hope you enjoyed it!