It was getting late and Duck was impatient to get home. His head slightly ached from the goatman's shovel striking his skull and he was bone tired. The day had been much too long for him.
He walked to his truck as the soft snow fell around him, painting the old trees of the forest in a less deadly white. As he reached for his keys, his fingers brushed over a cold, circular object in his jacket pocket. Definitely not keys.
He took the object out quickly and stared in slight horror at himself as circular red lenses reflected his own face back at himself. Shit. He had forgotten to give them back to Indrid before he flew away.
Duck boarded his truck, immediately headed to Indrid's winnebago. Nobody can see him in that form or else there would be too much unwanted attention. Specifically from Stern which would be the worst. Duck also remembered that Indrid had seemed pretty banged up from being attacked by the goatman. It would be good to check on him. Hopefully Indrid had gone back to the winnebago. It was winter and Indrid got cold easily. He wouldn't survive in this weather for long, mothman form or not.
He parked the car nearby, climbing out. Duck instinctly looked around, still on edge from the battle. Seeing nothing, he continued, walking to the winnebago. Before he could knock he heard Indrid speak up.
"Hello Duck. I would open the door but as you know this form of mine isn't the most... appealing thing to look at. The door is open, I hope you don't mind." A nervous edge laced his tone a bit. Duck took the invitation and opened the door.
Immediately hot air rushed forward, warming his face. It was quite nice, being it was still a cold night and Duck was not immune to the chill running through him with every gentle gust of wind. He quickly entered, shutting the door before more cold could enter, and looked around.
The first thing he notices is Indrid, huddled close to a space heater. He was covered in three blankets, black fuzz peeking out from underneath. From beneath the pile, glowing red embers burned looking at him. Duck paused as a brief flash of surprise passed through him but he let it go. He had spent too much time with those in the amnesty lodge and fighting the abominations to be phased by natural Sylvain forms. He gave a soft smile at Indrid and held out the glasses.
"Seems as you forgot somethin'."
Indrid blinked and stood up, still huddled in blankets. In this form, he now towered over Duck, head brushing the ceiling. Duck now noticed the overturned table and scattered paper everywhere. It seemed like Indrid had put up a fight with the goatman before being incapacitated, if the red stain on the side of the wall was anything to go by.
Duck met Indrid halfway, passing him the glasses. Indrid gingerly took them, red eyes inspecting them for any damage. He turned up back to Duck.
"Thank you for holding them for me Duck." He said, pausing then continuing. "And thank you for helping me. You didn't have to take that hit all for me but... I greatly appreciate it." He then slipped on the glasses, turning back into his disguise. Duck felt a smile tug at his lips as he observed the familiar form from the white hair, to the freckled brown skin, to the mundane tank top and jeans. He saw himself reflected in Indrid's glasses, a soft smile gracing his features. Then he noticed the split lip and various bruises and scratches, in particular the cut at Indrid's hairline, all while slightly shivering. Who knows how long he had been out in the cold?
"Sorry about that."
"Sorry about that."
They looked at each other and despite his concerns, Duck gave a little bit of a smile.
"Duck, you don't have to apologize. It was not your fault. Neither was it Ned's nor Aubrey's. I admit I was a bit preoccupied so i hadn't noticed trouble until it was too late." Indrid said, giving a bit of a strained smile. Duck cringed a bit. Must not feel great with the split lip.
"Doesn't matter. We shouldn't have left you with him. We knew he was agressive and we did so anyway and doing that led you to being hurt." Indrid being dragged through the dirt, hurt and probably unconcious at first, flashed before his eyes. He thought back to Indrid being dragged into the clearing with the tree, chained up. He felt his stomach feel squeezy and his blood freeze just thinking about it. When he saw it, he had felt terrified. He had almost freezed up like that time at the pool.
Indrid shook his head, a smaller, warmer smile softening his features. Duck stared, entranced before snapping out of it.
"Here, lemme check you out."
He put a hand on thin, blanket-covered shoulders, steering Indrid towards some chairs and sitting him down.
"It's over there, in the bathroom," Indrid pointed towards the back before Duck could ask. He nodded and headed to the bathroom.
He looked around, before locating the first aid kit before pausing, looking at his reflection. He stared at it, looking at himself, from the dark skin, to the brown and hazel eye and his dark hair. He took the time to really look at himself. Surprisingly, he hadn't changed.
Despite everything that's happened, it's still him.
"Duck?" Indrid's voice softly broke through his thoughts and he jerked up.
"Y-Yeah, I got it. Everything is... good." And he found that he hadn't lied.
He walked out, sitting opposite of Indrid, who was still wrapped in the blankets and shaking, before scooting closer. Duck inspected the cut at his hairline, before grabbing some swabs to disenfect it and to stop its sluggish bleeding.
"It's going to need some stitches and tt's gonna hurt a little," he warned, and at Indrid's small nod, he pressed it to the cut as gently as he could. Indrid flinched, tensing up for a moment and then relaxing. They sat in comfortable silence, as Duck sewed up the cut at Indrid's temple, before tending to the other wounds and scrapes that littered Indrid's body. Duck noticed some scars covering Indrid's body, quietly wondering, but didn't ask Indrid. It wasn't the time to ask such personal questions, he thought, thinking about the slightly faded twin scars on his chest. Duck hesitated at Indrid's lips, before slowly cleaning them. He swallowed, feeling a bit nervous but finished as quickly as he could.
"That's everything." he said into their companionable silence. Indrid looked at him from behind those red glasses and gave him a smile, mindful of the split lip.
"Thank you for everything, Duck. You had no obligation to do any of this." Duck shook his head.
"Nah, you deserved it. You've really helped us out for this case so much, Indrid. It's-"
"I don't really deserve this though." Indrid said, cutting him off. Duck quiets down. Indrid took a deep breath before looking down at his thin hands and tugging the blankets closer to himself. "I'm trying to make ammends. I need to. I can't let something like that happen again. Something like-"
"Something like silver bridge."
They fall silent, Duck looking at Indrid, Indrid staring at his clenched, trembling hands. Duck sits closer, holding one of Indrid's cold, thin hands in his own.
"Indrid, that wasn't your fault. You tried your damndest to warn everybody. You can't let yourself be beaten up by this. You've done plenty good. You deserve getting patched up a bit. You deserve the world. More than..."
More than I could ever give you.
There must have been a timeline where he hadn't been so hesitant as Indrid's head snapped up to look at him. Duck stroked Indrid's cool hand in his own warmer ones.
It felt nice.
"Duck Newton, you are the most ridiculous man I have ever met," Indrid stared in wonder at him. "Thank you," he whispers, before leaning in and gently pressing his lips to Duck's. Duck froze, shocked, then kissed, mindful about Indrid's lip.
A cold hand landed on his cheek and he wrapped an tightened his hold on Indrid's hand. The kiss wasn't perfect, but he couldn't care less.
They separate, looking at each other quietly, soft smiles on their lips. Unspoken words exchanged.
Duck opened an arm in invitation and Indrid moved forward, nestling in Duck's side as they sat in a moment's silence, once again speaking in a common tongue.