AU where the twins notice Hiccup through his flailing, disastrous attempts at killing dragons weeks before the Night Fury Incident.
They approach him with their signature, predatory grins slathered across their faces and Hiccup, like a panicked rabbit, slinks away from every attempted thrown arm-over-the-shoulder. The twins find him scarce after that.
They won’t be deterred. Not with the explosive result of a mis-aimed, oil-coated bola into the coals of a pyre still fresh in their minds from the last raid. That sort of power needs to be harnessed. Late at night, with a single candle casting ominous, reaching shadows across the walls of their shared sleeping quarters, they whisper a plan of approach.
The next day they get him while he’s eating, alone, at the corner of a Mead Hall table. As soon as they sit, one on either side, he tries to stand.
“Will you relax?” Ruffnut says, yanking him back down by the side of his tunic. “We wanted to ask you about that thing you used in the last raid.”
Hiccup’s still wary, suspicious, but he settles back down and answers their questions. They’re nice to him–no pinching or poking or making fun. They seem genuinely interested in his work.
So Hiccup allows the twins to hang around as he’s working. They’re amazed by how quickly, how smoothly, his brain comes up with methods of destruction. And he can bring them to life. Well, sort of. They offer their own ideas–most of which he dismisses immediately as purely impossible but, hey, they’ve got time.
The twins start sitting with Hiccup at meals. They invite him to hang-outs. They lift the heavier things in the shop when Hiccup’s working and Gobber’s not around. They convince Stoick to let Hiccup join the Fire Brigade. Ruffnut douses Hiccup by “accident”. Hiccup kicks the bone of her ankle the way he’s seen Tuffnut do it.They both get yanked from the path of a Nightmare flame by Stoick. Tuffnut cackles as they both get lectured about awareness; Snotlout sneers, probably following the lead of Astrid shaking her head, but Hiccup isn’t quite so put out this time around. Ruffnut’s at his side, wincing at the brunt of Stoick’s disappointment, and Hiccup makes a quip about practically being fire-proof being this wet.
Hiccup’s funny, the twins realize. He’s more–what’s the word?–reasonable than them but he’s willing to make jumps. He likes climbing things. He’s fast. He’s not completely hopeless. He doesn’t care much about rules and holy shit their future chief doesn’t care about rules.
If he makes chief. And with that, the twins decide it has to happen. Hiccup has to be chief. They take to training him. Unorthodox though they might be, the twins are still capable fighters. They play ‘target practice’ in the forest and Hiccup gets to utilize his speed and agility in a more dangerous fashion. They make him eat more meat, carry more weapons, push more wagons full of Thorstons. He whines that they’re torturing them. Sometimes in French, so that they don’t know how nasty that whining gets. But it’s fun, he realizes through a sore body. He feels… included, at least.
Dragon training commences and Hiccup’s a part of it–shocking both him and the twins. The training turns out to be invaluable for the late-afternoon smith sessions. Hiccup knows what to focus on now (wings and tails, sound and blind-spots) and the slow honing of certain designs brings new weapons to fruition. Rather than partnering with each other all the time, the twins take to switching off with Hiccup, where they’d hiss strategies to each other. Ridiculous, hare-brained, only-try-this-if-you’re-nuts strategies. Sometimes they end in disaster, sometimes they end victorious, with a greatly annoyed Astrid scowling at their backs.
They sneak a barrel of Mead into Hiccup’s house when his father is out on the last raid and they drink and draw designs and fool around and Hiccup doesn’t think he’s laughed that much in a long time. He feels encouraged. He’s inspired now–not just with a thirst to prove himself, but with the incredible motivation that someone believes in him. It gives him a boost of confidence that makes a world of a difference.
He perfects a hand-launcher. The twins help him in dragon training and in return he lends them proto-type weapons to use. Gobber watches, amused. Snotlout complains that they’re cheating. Astrid begrudgingly admits that it at least yields results. Fishlegs is hesitant to be a part of it. He yearns to be included on treading new grounds, but the twins terrify him. The twins, who had taken a more protective stance on their half-friend/half-investment…
Hiccup’s skill improves, as does the accuracy of his weapons. The twins in have a steady hand in his creations and Hiccup, in turn, manages to curb their more destructive tendencies. The village considers it a small blessing in the coming months, even if the initial friendship had everyone nervous. Stoick tolerates the twins, seeing how his son’s life had brightened and that Hiccup now seemed to take the overall safety of the village more seriously… even if his personal life included more tomfoolery.