“you might want to do something about that.”
duck’s been on edge as soon as the payphone rang. his jaw was clenched as aubrey picked it up, nails digging into the palm of his hand when she said it was for him.
three minutes. leo. crushed to death.
had duck been a weaker man his knees might have given out. maybe even have a heart attack right on the spot. or just kneel over and die.
the line’s dead, phone dangling from the cord, swinging slowly and bumping into duck’s thigh a few times.
somehow, for the first time since all this shit in kepler has started happening; duck newton was truly afraid.
he doesn’t have time to process anything, his heart is pounding so loudly in his ears that he can’t hear aubrey ask if he’s okay. his vision is blurred, and then he’s slipping around in the snow, slamming into jake who holds on him while ned just looks on with confusion.
“i need your help.” duck yells, wrangling his way out of his friend’s grip. “come on, come on!”
and then they all run.
later, when duck makes a lapse in judgement and does shots with everyone after another day of hell, aubrey drunkenly leans against him.
and duck speaks up with “thank you.” because christ, as soon as he opened his mouth back there, she had fire already crackling on her finger tips.
in response, she just gives him a lopsided grin.
“their voice was really, really nice-- considering the situation.” aubrey said suddenly, and duck wished he had to think about it twice.
duck offered her a grunt, reaching for another shot that ned just poured.
“well, because you asked so nicely…”
duck really fucking wished indrid kept his goddamn glasses on. because jesus, this fucking sucked, like royally.
like sure, he knew they were talking to the mothman, but nothing could have prepared him for this. the transformation, the wings, the mandibles, the smell, the noise? all fucking terrifying.
if he wasn’t so worried about hurting indrid’s feelings, he might of puked. okay maybe he did, but he powered through and swallowed it back down.
he saw the wings first-- they ripped through indrid’s human skin, making an ear-splitting snapping noise as they stretched out. flapping once. and then again. both times made the three pineguards lose their footing. then there was a burts and arms will splitting, antenna were sprouting and then mandibles were jutted out from his jaw.
they lock eyes-- duck and indrid. the cryptid has a smirk across his face, sharp teeth pointing out. duck feels his heart stop, out of fear, probably; but maybe something else. like the fact this is the first (and probably only time) duck has looked into the other’s eyes. had duck seen them in any other circumstance, he may have taken a moment to think about how beautiful they are.
and then indrid winks, and his beautiful eyes are replaced by big empty ones. black for a moment, then glowing.
it’s then that aubrey and ned started to demanded that he puts his glasses back on. which he did with a laugh, and then the mothman was gone. and duck felt like he could breathe again.
later that night, after several failed attempts to fall asleep on duck’s part, beacon apathetically questioned what was keeping his owner so restless.
duck thought of indird’s smirk before turning into the mothman fully. and then he thought of those beautiful eyes.
“duck newton. please remove me from your quarters before you take action to resolve your current dilemma.” beacon sighed, and duck groaned in response, giving the end table his sword was on a quick kick to signal it to shut the fuck up.
“unfortunately, my time here has come to an end.”
duck’s angry at first, but then he picks up on the tremor in indrid’s voice as he continues, and the forest ranger’s heart starts to ache.
his love for kepler has always been unmatched, even throughout his rebellious years. so anytime someone has even vaguely hinted at leaving this place behind, his whole day turns glum.
but this time it feels worse; the thought of indrid taking off adds some extra weight to his heart.
duck’s whole demeanor changes. it’s like he shuts down. he stares blankly at indrid, not wanting to waste time; just pawn off the goatman and to move the hell on. and he does.
no goodbyes. no smile and nod. not even a look back.
the next time duck lets himself think about indrid, he’s laying on the floor of his apartment, staring at his cat who a few feet away.
he always tells her about his day, usually while making dinner, she’ll be sat on the counter almost as if she was listening and interested. her eyes reminded him a bit of irdrid’s. a bright brownish orange.
with a sigh, duck starts to detail everything that went down earlier. she’s a bit pissed at him, since duck did just give her some ear drops, but even so, as he speaks, she sneaks closer to him.
and then she’s on her feet, tiny legs quickly bounding over to duck, who’s just openly weeping suddenly, breathing heavy and staggered.
she pressed her round face to his to the back of his hand, and he instantly scoops her into his chest.
it takes him a moment to calm down, and once he does, he whispers into her fur; “why am i so scared of losin’ folk?”
the cat just paws at his face in response.
duck wakes up the next morning with a knot in his neck, and breaks out a fancy can of wet food.
“fly, indrid, fly!”
it all happened so fast. being captured, coughing up red on white snow, the pineguards arriving, duck pulling back his fist and then, and then...
duck newton fucking punched him. this humble forest ranger just socked the mothman in the face. indrid’s positive that his glasses where chipped in the process, and if his life wasn’t just saved he would have probably been a bit upset, considering its taken him so long to find a pair that really suit him.
as he takes flight, he spares a glance at duck. and maybe it lingers a second to long, but there’s something about the thought of duck being his hero that makes his stomach flip.
and then once he’s at a safe enough distance away, it hits him.
duck newton chose indrid over his chosen weapon. nothing that beacon was gone or anything, just a battle scar, but duck was-- duck was willing to take the risk of losing his gift if it meant he could save indrid.
visions start to flood in at this point.
he told himself he wouldn’t be surprised when this happened because well, duck was truly unpredictable, for just a meer a human that is. always making snap decisions that change everything.
but these new ones...were truly shocking.
for the most part, they all showed him and duck. together in the future. not just in a save the universe way, but in a rather, well, intimate way.
there was something about the tenderness shared between them, the vulnerability, the warmth, the fondness...that was absolutely horrifying to indrid cold.
he then thought of duck newton’s smile. which made him forget his worry, just for a moment.