Duck blinked. He noticed that he had zoned out looking at the ceiling instead of working on a model ship. He looked down at his watch and saw that he'd been out of it for about fifteen minutes. After rubbing his eyes and shaking his head, he started up and out of his seat, internally citing a need for fresh air.
As he noiselessly got up (he kept his furniture well maintained, so as to avoid buying replacements) and exited the room, he could hear a conversation from the main living room. He stopped and, against some better judgement of his, decided to eavesdrop.
"So, uh, how strong would you say you are, Minerva?" That sounded like Aubrey. She seemed like she was a bit starstruck at how muscular the alien battle master was, and to Duck's credit, he couldn't blame her.
"Well, miss Little! I'd say on a scale from a measly 1 to an emphatic 10, I would squarely put at around..." there was a pause in Minerva's sentence, whether for emphasis and dramatic flair, or because it was a genuine pause in thought... Honestly, Duck figured it could be both.
"I'd say I'm a solid 15! 16, even!" Yep, figured.
Following that was a chuckle from Jake Coolice. Duck was surprised, considering he didn't hear him enter, but then again he did zone out. "Wow, really? You could probably lift something big then, like a car."
Then there was a big ol' hearty chuckle from Minerva now. "It is quiet possible, Jake Cool Ice-" yes, it was emphasized like that. "- I could quiet possible carry two of these cars! They are the vehicles that humans drive around in, correct?"
Aubrey added in a "Yep, that's the one!"
A forth voice, which Duck vaguely recognized as Dani's, came in. "Hey, how does your, um, chosen one connection thingy work with Duck and... um, Mr Tarkesian and-"
"Doctor Sarah Drake?"
"Well," Minerva started. "It's quite simple; I simply transmit a a worm hole into their minds to create a form of communication and imbue them with my warrior's instinct, strength and foresight! I thought this would be common knowledge at this point, though. Have I not given this spiel before?" she questioned.
Now, Duck had, at this point, been ever so slowly sneaking through the hallway. It's not like he had sneaking skills of... um, a ninja, for example, but he was pretty light on his feet for a man his size.
"Oh, no, I got that, I heard the explanation before, I just meant that... well..."
"Well?" Asked Minerva.
"Well?" Echoed Aubrey.
Well? thought Duck.
"Why isn't Duck that strong, or Mr Tarkesian? Why are you only that strong?"
There was a silence in the apartment.
Jake let out a "Huh" as Aubrey spoke up after what was probably a half minute.
"You know, I've never thought about that before. I mean, Duck's already a tough dude, but, like, I don't think I could see him ever casually lifting a car, let alone two. I mean, he could maybe lift a motorbike, but any more than that and that would probably just be human adrenaline at that point. H-"
At this point, Duck had edged throughout the hallway and was now by the entrance to the living room. Minerva was just out of sight, the back of her head visible. Jake and Dani were on either side of Aubrey as she was talking, before Minerva jumped in.
"My ability to imbue others with my natural impressive skills does not have me give, as some say, my all. Rather, I give a fraction of my powers to others. Duck Newton's strength and toughness is a mixture of mine and his own natural skill. Sure, he is tougher than a normal human, maybe a little quicker, but in the end, most of that is all him. He may be a chosen one, but it is not simply because I chose him. It is simply his potential being magnified to a point were he can do what he needs to do. I am simply helping him along."
"So," Aubrey piped in, "basically, the magic was in him all along?"
"No, the magic is in you, miss Little. I am just saying that Duck's actions and abilities are being assisted by my incredible presence!" Minerva ended emphatically by putting a hand on her chest.
A round of chuckles were let out by everyone, even Duck who tried his hardest not to be heard.
The message in Minerva's statement was clear though; Duck's actions, whether piloted by or against whatever destiny he had coming for him, were still Duck's actions. It sort of eased, if not comforted, his worries.
"All right," started Aubrey, still blushing from whatever embarrassment she felt from Minerva's shut down. "I get that. Now, did Duck get any of his cool skateboarder tricks from you?"
Again, there was a moment of silence as everyone registered Aubrey's question. This time, Duck saw Minerva's head and eyes look at exactly at where he was, and in that moment Duck figured she probably knew he was listening to her talk.
"Now, I am not sure what these 'cool skateboarder tricks', Duck Newton, but I almost certainly did not pass any off to you!" Minerva's knowing (and shit-eating, Duck swears mentally,) smile was joined by the other three in the room looking at him, earning him a few 'oh hey Duck's from Aubrey and Dani, and a mischievous and excited smile from Jake Coolice.
"Oh hey, Duck, I didn't know that you could skateboard! Do you think we could do like, I don't know, a once around the neighborhood and see can go faster and do the most stunts! Come on, man, Let-"
Duck didn't want to see the look on Jake's face when he said his piece, so, on a dime, he took a step towards back from where he came, letting out a "Nope!" as he did so, answering everybody's questions as he quickly and valiantly went back to building model ships to save the last chunk of normality in his life.