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The future tense of regret

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Indrid saw it coming. Of course, Indrid cold saw everything coming. He still hates it though, this feeling of seeing his signif-his boyfr- someone he cared about trapped like this.

The meeting was standard, expected even. A disaster over the phone and disbelief. Then they won and saved themselves and the town and he was  amazed at their abilities to change fate so handily. Endless forks upon a road narrowed down so succinctly. It sent tingles down his thorax, shaking dust off of his wings.

He speeds home to his Winnebago, his hive of one, and grabs a spare pair of glasses and enchants another watch, just to be safe. Aubrey has a low chance of finding his glasses, but when/if she does he's not getting them back. His immediate future shows a high probability of someone coming to chastise him on the location of his trailer at the behest of their superiors, so he opens the door. There, hand outstretched, is Duck Newton. Indrid invites him in for some delicious 'nog. And that is how they begin.

He has visions, pieces of a world only tangentially connected to Earth and through Earth Sylvain.  Each one is world shaking to Duck in a way that he can relate to.  There were futures of  pointless, mundane tasks; how many books would be misshelved at the library, will Billy Locane forget to put his shoes back in his room or will a visiting Pine Guard member trip over them, Will the Matzo Ball soup turn out right? But looming over them were infinite futures where the sky falls down around them and it shakes him too. They bond over it. When the winter chill has turned to a comfortable summer swelter and they stare out at the sky, they are filled with terror and wonder at their worlds and find solace in the grip of an affectionate companion.

One little connection multiplies faster than Indrid thought, soon each future of his includes Duck for a good chunk of time. There are the plenty where Duck dies before the truth comes out. There are those where they split like a cicada shell, brokenhearted and despondent. Duck's loyal and tough, though. He stays alive more likely than not and he stays with Indrid.
Indrid knows he's going to be called back, that his job as a court seer is a lifetime position whether he wants it or not. She's going to call him back and she's going to demand results. Indrid looks at the futures where she doesn't and finds things are some how inexplicably worse, so he turns his attentions to other, brighter things. There are millions of futures to grab him, he won't dwell too much on the ones he can't prevent. At least, he'll try not to.

He prevents a future where Jane makes Duck uncomfortable, by never mentioning how long he's had his Winnebago. He encourages quite a few futures of dinner dates and nervous kisses when he leans against Duck's shoulder and nuzzles into his soft hair. He doesn't quite manage to prevent Duck from buying the MothMan Boyfriend jacket. But then again he was never good at averting disasters. Aubrey, who showed him the jacket, ends up on the ground, shaking with laughter. Indrid manages to crack a smile when Duck joins in.

Duck drools. And he snores a thin whistling snore that almost drowns out the space heaters in the winter, which Indrid finds adorable. (He also finds it reminds him of  a cicada mating call and he tries not to think about that one too much.) Duck's initial aversion to his real self had stung. the intervening months brought it down until it is a welcoming sight to have two compound eyes gleaming red in the darkness of his apartment long after Leo Sarkesian finishes training him. Duck's delighted to be able to be lay down on someone's stomach without crushing them and Indrid finds himself obliging. It's around autumn when Indrid realizes that he hates looking at the futures with out this charming, funny human in them. It makes the inevitable hurt so much more.

It's six months since they started dating, fourteen since they met, and the day the calls comes in is clear and cold in a way that makes him miss the warmth of Duck's arms around him already. He goes to Sylvain with a solemn bow and a  tired smile. The Interpreter doesn't notice how stiff and haggard he's feeling. She doesn't acknowledge the slightest down downturn of his lips and shoulders. He knew she wouldn't. He goes anyway because it's all he can do.

He isn't there for the deed, of course. He wasn't ever in time to help when push comes to shove, why would he be there now? He hears that they have one of the humans in custody. He knows who it is because he did not leave a note and Duck is nothing if not loyal. Indrid looks into the future and sees himself, staring forlornly at the man encased in glass like a paper weight. He regrets that he doesn't have tear ducts right now, because he could sure use them, then he flies to the dungeons to be with Duck.