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The rain is fading outside, which is a relief since Newt really hadn’t been looking forward to a flood. He blinks exhausted eyes, hands out the steaming plates of meat and fresh bread.

Mako looks dully down at her plates as though she wasn’t sure what to do with it. Raleigh nudges her gently, and she jerks, straightening suddenly.

Hermann hovers nervously, holding Stacker’s eating implements- the spoon and fork on a loop of leather to fit over his useless hands, but Stacker just smiles, and holds up his hands. “Thank you doctor, but I am quite alright.”

Hermann nods uncertainly and oh hell he looks awful. None of them are looking great but Newt just wants to grab Hermann and pull him to bed and sleep for about a month.

He settles with pushing him gently to his seat, and putting his plate in front of him. “Eat.”

Hermann blinks, “I must-”

“Just eat your fucking dinner-” Newt chokes off as a yawn catches him, wrenches his mouth open.

“We need-” Hermann jabs his fork into the meat. “I have to-”

“Thank you, Doctor Gottlieb.” Stacker says softly, he smiles. “Right now, we need you to eat and rest, and tomorrow we can start to heal.” He looks at Mako, who hangs her head, ashamed.

Newt winces, ducks over his own plate. Yeah. There’s like a dozen farms with dead crops because winter came six months early. There’s no way of making that sound good.

Mako raises her head, “I will.” She says firmly, a clear bell across the exhausted dining table. “I will repair this,” she looks down at her hands, flexes them, she sets her jaw. “I will.”

“We will.” Stacker responds, and puts a hand on hers. “All of us.”

Newt tries not so sigh. “Not too early in the morning, at least?”

Hermann scowls, kicks him under the table. “We will be ready whenever you need us, Si-” he chokes off as a massive yawn overtakes him. Newt smirks.

“We will not start before noon.” Stacker continues smoothly. “We will allow the sun time to warm the ground before we do anything.”

Newt tries to smirk at Hermann, but he looks so relieved himself that it falls a bit flat.

It has been a long, long week.
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Newt sinks down on the hillock and tries to choke back a sob. The forest is still, almost like a normal wood, but when Newt focuses on the trees, he can see the canopy doesn’t always attach to a trunk, and the trees seems to blur and fade into each other like fog. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees two shuffle away, and spring out into four trees.

He’s never going to get out of here. He’s completely lost.

Newt brushes down the folds of his blue and white dress. There’s a pinkish stain on the apron- probably from the mad tea party. Newt rubs at it, but it doesn’t budge- probably raspberry jam.

Newt licks the apron, grinds his nails into the cloth and picks and picks and it’s still there he can’t get it clean-

The tears burn his eyes, he screws his eyes shut but they sear their way through and he rubs at them hard but they streak down his cheeks and he can only curl up and bury his face in his hands.

“Are you cold?”

The words come, very softly, from behind Newt, he sniffs, rubs his nose. “What?”

“I said, are you cold? You can come in, if you want.”

Newt turns, behind him is an enormous coat.

It’s green, and puffy, and has a huge hood and basically looks like something a giant might wear in the arctic. No one seems to be wearing it. “Um, hi?”

“Hello.” The voice comes from inside the hood.

“Are you invisible? Like the cat?”

“Oh no.” The hood ruffles, and a broad head bobs up from the coat. “That cat is aggravating, always disappearing.” Large eyes blink at him. “You look cold.”

“Yeah.” Newt rubs his arms. The night is drawing in and the dress is thin cotton.

“Come on in, please.” The wide mouth quirks in a smile. Is it a frog? A snake? “The coat is big enough for two.”

Newt looks at it, and sighs. “I probably shouldn’t. I went into someone’s house and got to big for it and the house broke. And I got raspberry on my dress.” He pushes angrily at the stubborn stain. “I might wreck your coat.”

“Oh, I doubt that.” The frog-snake smiles and the smile just goes on and on and on. “The coat belonged to the bears. They said since I was cold so much I should have it. If it can survive bears, it can survive you.”

It’s the most sense Newt’s heard anyone make since he got here. It’s nice. He gets up and walks over to the coat. It’s got large wooden toggles and he undoes them carefully.

“Be quick,” the frog-snake shivers, “You’re letting the warm out.”

Newt nods, opens it enough to step inside. The coat is furry inside, and very warm. The frog snake is so thin he barely takes up any space inside at all. Newt pokes his head out from under the hood, and does up the buttons.

“There.” The frog snake smiles again. “Isn’t that better?”

Newt nods, yawns.

“You can sleep here.” He continues. “The forest will be moving all night- it’s the square roots you know, it makes them multiply, but in the morning the dogs will come to lick in new roads for the queen, and you can go home.”

“Thanks.” Newt sits down. The walls of the coat rise up like a tower around him, and the frog snake coils himself down to sit next to him. “I’m Newt by the way.”

“Hermann.”

Newt yawns again, and puts his head on his knees. He can sleep. Tomorrow maybe they can find their way out together.
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He tries sometimes, even now.

He’s only got a single spinneret left, and all it can do is to spit out loose, shapeless mesh. But- he did this, every few months for twenty years. Every now and again, Hermann lies on his bed, very still, and dreams of who he had been.

Hands, face, hair and mouth and two arms and skin soft and yielding and no claws and Hermann closes his eyes and itches all over for the longing of it. To walk unnoticed through the world, to be harmless, without threat. To be human.

Hermann opens his eyes, smiles sadly and lifts his hands to see the three fingers, the tough, tiny scales, the long claws.

His hands are soft and round. Pink and five fingered, with tiny seashell nails.

He roars in a panic and slams up against the wall. He tips and falls hard on the ground and lands on six limbs. His bad leg buckles and his tails lash and- he is fine. Everything is fine. He looks down at his familiar, clawed hands and is desperately glad to see them.

He sits up, pulls the blankets around himself, and tries to catch his breath. Was this a- hallucination? Did he eat something bad yesterday? No, it was just a puffball, he’s had those a hundred times…

He looks down at his hands, resting on the furl of his limbs. He swallows, touches his face, it feels fine, normal. Head, crest, cheekbones, jaw. Him.

Then his hands again and- what was it he did? He looks down at them, then moves them together into a pair, tucking his thumb away behind his hand, until the fingers take the rough approximation of a human hand. He frowns, thinks of his hands. Those other hands. The hands he had seen every day for twenty years-

And the skin around his claws begins to pale. Hermann chokes, catches his breath, and it fades. He concentrates again and it- spreads. Down from his claws and over the backs of his hands and his spare thumb blending in and fading into the skin. 

The claws dwindling to the tiniest shadows of themselves. The skin peach and light brown and the tiny black hairs springing free from the skin and Hermann closes his eyes and lets it- wash over him. up his arms and shoulders and back and over him like a sheet drawn slowly to wind about him.

He doesn’t open his eyes. Reaches up sinks his fingers into that oh so familiar hair, the ragged top and raw undercut he loves but never felt he got quite right, the soft, broad mouth, the shallow eyes, the absurd nose. His eyes burn, tears springing free and oh oh that’s him. It’s him again. He opens his eyes and staggers to his feet, nearly falling in the tangle of blankets around his feet.

His hand slabs clumsily for the lightswitch in the bathroom, his legs tremble and he longs to fall on all sixes but he only has for and the thought is thrilling and terrifying at once and- and-

And then he’s there, in front of the mirror, staring into a face he had not seen for nearly two years. Had never thought to see again.
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Luckily, humans have odd ideas about what to do with their free time. Newt had walked past this shop several times and had gone in before, marveling at what humans- so far removed from pain and fear-  enjoy doing.

The cuffs are very solid, Newt went with thick bands of stitched leather, with padding on the inside. Newt is careful as he tightens them around Hermann’s ankles, the strap between them passed through the basement railings.

Hermann sits up on his elbows, looks up at him. Newt crouches down beside him, close, but just out of reach. “Ready?”

“Never.” Hermann sighs, and closes his eyes.

When he opens them again, there’s someone else behind them.

Newt goes cold all over. Panic claws at his stomach and he wants to run, every instinct screaming to get away before those claws flash, those jaws sink into his throat-

He forces himself still, breathless and lifeless as those sharp eyes cast over him.

He’s looking for a threat. He can read that much. Newt hunkers down, trying not to look dangerous. It’s a waste of time, he can’t hide anything from those cutting, killing eyes.

But whatever they saw seems to have been enough, because the Victor’s taut muscles relax. He rises on all six legs, turns his back on Newt and oh Newt can breathe again, because the Victor would never, never turn his back on anything he wanted to kill.

The Victor takes a step, the leather ties snap tight and it stops, back legs nearly torn out from under him. He turns his head, eyes wide.

A tremor begins in his hindquarters, rising up the length of that long, lean body. The Victor moans, shuddering, it pulls at the restrains, but not with the terrible strength Newt has seen before. But a helpless, limp, trembling motions, barely rattling the D rings.

Newt suddenly wonders if Hermann had ever been tied up before, and knows, sharp as a tooth, who had done it.

What had done it.

Newt is down by his feet in moments, he ignores the huge talons, the lashing tails, and unbuckles the straps. Hermann hurls himself free in less than a heartbeat, clawing away and backing up against the wall.

Newt hesitates for a moment, then follows him. He crouches in front of him, looks into those dark, wild eyes. The Victor blinks at him, fearful and lost.

“Hey,” Newt whispers, “You’re okay.”

The Victor stares at him, he doesn’t understand. Newt tries to send warmth and comfort through the Hive, it seems to work, the huge claws slowly creep back into their sheathes, then long legs are drawn up to the ridged chest,

Newt sits beside him, he reaches up and gently nudges his hand closer and closer. The Victor’s eyes follow his hand, close when he rests it on his shoulder, rubs gentle circles on the junction of shoulder and neck.

There’s a heartbeat between them, his arm a bridge between them. Then suddenly, the Victor moves.

Newt doesn’t have time to run, when suddenly he’s on him, the lean weight of him, the claws pressed tight against his chest, the teeth pressed tight against his throat. Newt closes his eyes- hopes it will be fast-

But the claws don’t dig into his tender belly, the teeth don’t bite. Instead, the Victor curls into a tight little ball against him, trembling, a low moan breaking through his throat.

He’s crying.

“Hey, hey.” Newt’s hands tremble, but he puts them around the Victor anyway, pulling him close. “It’s okay. They aren’t here, just us. It’s okay, it’s okay.”

And maybe some of that made it through the Hive, because the Victor’s eyes close, and he goes lax against Newt, the trembling slowly fades.

Newt holds him tight, whispers nonsense into Hermann’s shoulder until, pressed tight as they can together, no breath between them, they sleep.
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(Somehow managed to delete the original ask, sorry! Cruella AU)

It happens so fast.

They are walking out of the labs, still arguing. He wants to expand their little semi-illegal operation into undermining the illegal fur trade directly- selling on sites like The Silk Road- Hermann is not quite so into that idea.

“And if the products are traced back to us,” Hermann snaps, striding across the pavement, “What do you think that will do to our stocks?”

Newt rolls his eyes, “I’m making this stuff, dude, of course I can make it different enough they can’t trace it. I’m careful.”

“So careful you almost got arrested-” Hermann is half turned to him as he storms over the gutter and into the road.

He says something more, but Newt doesn’t hear it, the volume knob for the world has suddenly turned down to mute, and Newt feels the rumble of the enormous truck in his bones, tastes the vibration of it’s roaring klaxon between his teeth.

Everything seems to slow, slick and liquid as syrup. Newt reaches out and his fingers close on the thick, clinging strands of Hermann’s furs. They clump and stick under his sweat-slick hands, clutching against him as though trying to save themselves.

Newt pulls, his mind jammed on the strength of the stitching, the tensile resistance of the furs he had made as they snatch tight against Hermann’s slender body, a tight little net as Newt hauls him- with the strength that makes children fight off bears and pregnant women lift trucks- out of the way.

Sound and time returns with deafening speed. Hermann’s body clashes against him and they stumble, a whirl of arms and legs and furs and the screaming, tearing wind of the huge truck as it catches them up and whirls them backwards to the pavement.

“Hooligan!” Hermann gasps, fights his way free of Newt and back upright. His face is pinched and bright red as he races after the disappearing truck. “Barbarian! Scoundrel! Visigoth! I’ll have you flogged, you upstart, delinquent-”

Newt should probably go after him. Hermann is working himself into a frothing rage and someone should calm him down. He should probably check the security footage, that guy was going easily twice over the legal limit-

His body doesn’t seem interested, pinned against the blissful solidity of the pavement. And Hermann is so gloriously alive, almost jumping up and down in his fury beside him. The furs swirling like stormclouds around him and not hanging, lank and filthy and sprayed with blood against the road.

Newt manages not to throw up, but his throat locks in a dry heave.

Hermann pauses, “Newton?” He turns, then the flush of rage drains for his face. “Newton! He hurries back, and drops beside him. “Oh Gott, he didn’t harm you?” Hermann fumbles with Newt’s coat, Newt half heartedly reaches up to bat those hands away but oh fuck it feels so good; those dancing, beautiful hands so warm and alive-

Hermann’s eyes are wide, “Newton- say something, if that- that brigand, that gangster hurt you-”

“No,” Newt croaks, he manages to lift a hand up, against the impossible pull of the Earth, and draws it to Hermann’s cheek. “Just- you’re okay. You nearly-”

“I would say so!” Hermann’s nostrils flares in renewed outrage, there are two little white marks on each side of his nose, and it rather makes him think of the General in a rage. “We could have been obliterated, that thing was going easily a hundred miles an hour-”

Newt’s stomach turns, he swallows. “Don’t.” He manages. “Just- don’t.”

Hermann grumbles, outragus interruptus, and subsides into a smoldering mutter about lawyers and the long arm of the law. But he doesn’t pull away from Newt’s hand, and even takes his free hand in his, squeezing, very tightly.
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Newt wakes up alone. He sits up, the bedroom is empty.

“Shit.” He throws the blankets off, and kicks his legs out. The door is open and a thin, cold breeze cuts into the bedroom. “Shit!”

He shoves his legs into a pair of pants, and doesn’t bother with more. “Hermann!”

No answer. Newt runs out into the narrow corridor. No sign of him. “Shit. Ah fuck.” Newt picks a direction, starts running, his bare feet slamming wetly on the damp ground.

Boneyard is empty at this hour, the base silent and breathless and cold. Newt shoves his head into the tiny cubby where Hermann works- nothing, dark and empty, the computers dark. Even thought it’s barely the size of a closet, Newt looks under the table just in case.

“Shit shit shit-” Newt runs his fingers through his hair. Come on, where would he go? Did he have a freakout and go back to Miami base? Nah, he’d have woken Newt, but what if-

“Oh no.” Newt moans, and runs flat out. The steel floor jars his heels with every step. He braces his shoulder and hits the outer door head on. 

The door bursts open, Newt half falls, half jumps down the six steps down to the cave floor. The air is freezing and Newt rubs his arms as he runs, teeth chattering. His breath huffs up in steam and his bare skin seems to smoke as he runs.

Most of the lights are off for night time. The ground underfoot is fine and ashlike, Newt stumbles and struggles to keep up a good pace, wincing as his foot hits something sharp.

He races around the wreckage of the pits, the waist-high remains of the walls. “Hermann!” He roars, but his voice is drawn up into the unimaginable space above him, choked and silenced.

This is horrible, this is a nightmare. He’s even had it a few times and Newt looks around despite himself not really expecting to see the Masters, but-

Just making sure.

He tries to remember where it was. Hermann’s memories are cloudy and uncertain, but Newt’s bare feet mark out the same steps as he had done- so many times, over the ruins and shattered dead earth, stumbling over wreckage and-

He almost trips over Hermann, in the end.

Newt skids, stops too short and falls back onto his ass. “Hermann!” The sheer relief sweeps through him. “Fuck man, what are you doing-”

Hermann doesn’t respond, he’s huddled against the remains of the wall. His eyes are open, but glazed. He doesn’t even seem to see Newt.

“Babe?” Newt gets up on his knees, “Are you okay?”

He reaches out to touch Hermann’s shoulder- then Hermann looks at him.

His eyes are wide, the pupils tiny. Newt freezes, and slowly lowers his hand. “Hermann?” he says softly, “D’you know me?”

A blink. Newt reaches to him through the Hive, and Hermann’s mind is- slack. Sleeping, lost in a nightmare.

“Ah fuck.” Newt mumbles, and floods the Hive between them with warm and safe and love. Hermann blinks at him again, but his clenched hands slowly relax. He’s still asleep, but in whatever dream he’s lost in, he can see Newt isn’t gonna hurt him.

“Okay babe,” Newt tries to think, waking sleepwakers is supposed to be okay, but waking Hermann here would be- not good. “Come on, let’s get you out of here.”

The vague emotions through the dream feed through faint hope and disbelief. They’re leaving?

“Yep, going now.” Newt gently takes his upper arm, and helps Hermann up. He takes two steps, then collapses back down onto all sixes.

“Okay.” Newt says firmly, “Come on sweeties, this way.” He puts a hand on to Hermann’s shoulders, guiding him slowly out of the ancient cave, through the boneyard and eventually out- out into the eternal sun and blessed warmth of the Anteverse.

Hermann looks at him, mouth open wordlessly. Newt wonder what he’s seeing, in his dream.

“Come on,” Newt encourages, “Just a bit further.”

It takes the best of two hours to trek through the puffball jungle and make their way to Miami base. The moment Newt opens the door, some part of Hermann seems to realises where they are. He pads over to the bed and drops flat on it, falling back into real sleep.

Newt groans and slides down to sit beside him, exhaustion crashing in after this aborted night of broken sleep.

Fuck the marshal’s orders, they are never overnighting in Boneyard again.
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(Never seen Orphan Black, this is more of a Never Let Me Go ‘verse)

Newt gets the latest one in the mail. “Caucasian male, tall, 120lb, dark hair, dark eyes, one harvest. St Andrew’s church at 8pm, discretion required.”

 Discretion required. Newt swallows. That means he’s of someone important. Newt pulls a spare set of clothes from the wardrobe. Hat, scarf, big coat. Thankfully it’s midwinter or the clothes would look weird. 

After a moment, he throws a box of makeup into the pile. Just in case they need to do something drastic. He’s never had a ‘discretion required’ before.

Newt leaves his bungalow by the back door, he shuffles painfully through the dead leaves, wincing with every crunched footstep. There’s no moon, the sky is cloudy and, soon after Newt turns off the main road and into the little side-street that leads to the ruined church, it starts to rain.

Newt shrugs up his collar, he ducks around the side of the building and to the old gate that never locks. He pushes it open a few inches, and the hinges squeak. Newt freezes, and wriggles through.

The graveyard is pitch-dark, Newt blinks and blinks and squints. The rain falls in soft rustles on the leaves, gleams on the stone graves and the church steps.

As he’s watching, something moves in the shadow of the stairs. Newt perks up, but doesn’t move. His throat seizes because- what if it’s a set up? Discretion required. A famous one. Newt’s never done anything so dangerous.

He takes a breath, he wishes he’d thought of better code words, three years ago when he’d thought this was just a big adventure. “The red haddock flies at midnight.” He calls softly, feeling like a total idiot. If this is a set up, he really doesn’t want those to be his last word.

“But tomorrow will be froggy.” The voice comes back, stiff and disgusted but Newt relaxes. It’s him. “Did you choose the code yourself?”

“Don’t laugh.” Newt shuffles over. The man in half buried under the mountain of coats and he stinks. It’s a good disguise. Homeless man reeking of shit gets avoided by everyone. “Want a change of clothes.”

The man looks up, the distant streetlights flare in his eyes. “Probabaly should not.” He sighs, “Keep them until we’re off the streets. I don’t suppose you have access to a shower?” He gets up, and hobbles over. One leg drags. Newt’s throat closes, one harvest.

“Sure, and hot water.” He says instead. 

He holds his breath, and offers the man his arm. The man takes it with a sigh of relief. “Apologies for the smell, I- I was- I needed to-”

“Don’t worry about it.” Newt tries to breath through his mouth. “My place isn’t far, I’ve got a spare room while we get you your papers.”

For a moment, they shuffle on in silence. Newt squeezes through the gate first, the man follows. “I’ll need more than just that.” The man sighs.

Newt doesn’t say anything, but then they pass under a streetlight and Newt can see his face.

It’s not the same, of course. He’s Newt’s age at most, under the filth and dirt, he’s even got a few leaves in his hair. But it’s not enough to hide the cheekbones, the chin, the deep dark eyes. “Gottlieb?” Newt breathes.

The man nods. “My name’s Hermann.” It’s half snarled. 

“Okay.” Newt says softly. “Mine’s Newt.”

Hermann nods. “Thank you.” He says softly. He looks up at the light, as they pass by it. “I’ll need surgery.”

“I’m a doctor, I know people.” Newt squeezes his arm. “Our people. And you can crash with me until you’re healed up and feeling okay.”

Hermann takes a deep breath. “Thank you.” He says again. His body trembles, he misses a step and his leg buckles. Newt steadies him, holds him up, winces at the thought of the amount of cleaning his coat’s going to need. The man leans against him for a moment, closes his eyes. “Thank you.”

The words come up as though ripped out of some deep part of him, as thought this was some kind of- harvest. A harvest of desperate words.

“It’s okay.” Newt’s mouth is dry, a little numb. “Seriously.” The words seem pathetic in comparison.

For a moment, he can only hold the other man. Tries to ignore the stench. “Come on,” he tries to sound cheerful, “Let’s get you home and cleaned up.”
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Newt must have fallen asleep after all. He wakes up stiff and shivering, still under the table. He bites of a groan as he props himself up on stiff legs, blinks a few times to clear the sleep from his eyes.

Hermann isn’t there.

The destroyed tupperware boxes are still there, torn apart and starting to stink as the cloned remains rot. His bag trails away in a blur of blue and claw marks.

Newt’s eyes follow it, the track of blue stains to their battered sofa. There’s a new tear down one of the seat cushions, the stuffing puffing out, tipped with more blue.

Newt pulls himself carefully out from under the table. “Hermann?”

There’s a scratching sound from behind the sofa, a faint creak. Newt takes a breath. It’s not the Victor. The Victor wouldn’t be hiding.

Even so, he doesn’t walk around the sofa. He squats down on the seat cushions and carefully pokes his head above the back, haunches clenched to leap away if- if-

He can’t even think it. It’s beyond thought, an instinctive tremble in every nerve. The tension that had kept him alive, for so long.

It fades quickly though, when he sees Hermann.

He’s huddled up against the back of the sofa, spines poking little holes in the hessian sacking, the weight of him pressing a hollow between the wooden stats. His legs are pulled up to his chest, four arms crossed into a wall and head tucked down. He trembles again, squeezes his arms, his legs tighter, coiling up to make a tiny ball even tinier.

“Hermann.” Newt hesitates, doesn’t know what to say. He lopes down, falls heavily on all fours beside Hermann and slides his legs out to sit beside him. The tendrils on his back flare and instinctively reach for Hermann, but his flinches away, and Newt forces them flat.

“I’m sorry.” He tries. It seems a good bet.

“What in the world for?” Hermann’s voice is low, grinding and wretched.

“I should have told you.” Newt drops on his belly, puts his head on his forepaws. The heavy tendrils of his tail twine and flick. “If you knew, you wouldn’t have- freaked out.” It’s the best way he can put it.

“Freaked out.” Hermann repeats. His arms drop away and he looks up, his face is slack, jaws open in small, helpless pants. He’s so miserable and he’s the most beautiful thing Newt has seen and wow he feels bad about that but oh fuck it’s him it’s Hermann.

Hermann must have seen the relief on his face, he twists away. His hands come up, trembling in shame.

Newt slides closer, gently bats his hands away. “Hey, hey.”

“Don’t-” Hermann’s voice is frail.

“It’s okay-”

“I could have-” he chokes.

“You didn’t.” Newt takes a breath because it’s true. The Victor could have killed him. He would have been as easy a target as the cloned meat- and probably tastier. But it hadn’t. “Not a scratch, look-” He spins around on his rump.

Hermann looks at him, takes a deep breath, and lets it out with a heavy shudder. He rubs his face, his arms, the back of his neck. The spines stand up, Hermann wraps his arms around himself and this time his breath comes out raw, ragged- a cry.

“Hey- hey-” Newt forgets the Victor, the trembling terror-instinct of the last night, and pulls Hermann in. He feels frail in his arms, the terrible strength of his other self melted away and gone. Thin bone and spun muscle and Newt wonders how he could have even been scared of him, even for a moment.

Hermann doesn’t move for long moments, his sobs breaking great and fearful as though each one was rent from his body, his hands keep moving, mapping out around his body, reassuring himself that he is his, he belongs to himself and there is no one else in there.

“Shh.” Newt rocks him. He thinks, for a moment, of the great bodies of their larger cousins, how Newt could huddle against them and let the horrors of the Anteverse whirl around them like a storm against great rocks. He tries to be that, in the Hive if not in body, great and solid and unbeakable and warm and holding life and comfort in every crevice of his body.

Hermann must have felt it, and lets out a weak chuckle. He looks up, and this time, the worst of the pain has passed. “If it counts for anything, I don’t think I- it- would have hurt you. The hunger- nothing else mattered, but I- it was still there, under my skin, I wouldn’t have-” he touches Newt’s shoulder, very lightly. The tips of his claws- those deep blue, razor sharp claws- whisper so softly against his skin.

Newt looks into his eyes, and- he knows. he can feel him, Hermann and, deeper still, the Victor. There, in the Hive, curled up alone and afraid and- in it’s own way- ashamed.

“I know,” he says softly. “It’s okay.”

“I’m sorry,” Hermann whispers. “I ruined this. You worked on this for months and- and we should be so happy and- I ruined it.”

Newt shrugs, and hugs him again. “I’ll make more. We’re fine, Hermann.”
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Thousands have changed, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands. Kaiju Blue poisoning was eventually lethal, but the infection was their way out.

They hasn’t really been such a sense of urgency. The quarantines were holding, and were mostly being broken deliberately, and anyone who changed was at least stable-

And maybe Newt wanted to maintain an excuse, for as long as possible.

“I’m not going back,” He announces, slumping back on the bed.

“Where were you thinking of going?” Hermann rolls over, resting two right hands on his side.

“Well, back to human.” Newt cranes his head back, “It’s an option now.”

Hermann’s spines fall flat. “Oh,” he’s trying for pleasure, but it’s dull, hopeless.

Newt rolls over. “I’m not changing.” He says firmly. “I like being like this- and you can say you do too.”

Hermann’s spines perk up a little, he tucks his head into Newt’s shoulder.

“You’re beautiful.” Newt says softly. “Anyway, didn’t you pretend to have MS? That’s a pretty good excuse for not going back.”

Hermann nods, Newt strokes his beautiful, glossy back.

“And we won’t be the only ones,” Newt continues, “S’not just those with Kaiju Blue poisoning, it’s a way out for a lot of people with terminal things.”

And maybe, in time, however many years, there might be a community. Other people like them.
skull_bearer: (Default)
via http://ift.tt/2bOozyO:
(this is an AU from the original)

Hermann has seen the same face in the mirror since mirrors had been invented. He has cut his hair, let it grow, he has used every possible kind of reading glasses, he has even, on certain rare and never to be spoken of occasions, even attempted facial hair. 

But the face under all that has never changed, never, from that unknown and ancient time when he had come of age and- stopped.

Newt is asleep in their bed, tucked away in the tiny room they share in the Shatterdome. For once, it is quiet, settling into the regular rhythm of day and night after the frantic struggle of the war. A breath of calm before the ready themselves to face the new world around them.

Hermann ducks into the bathroom and ducks his face under the tap, drinking a few cupped handfuls of water before looking up and meeting his eyes in the mirror.

It’s not the same.

Hermann blinks, runs his eyes, then leans closer, wiping his damp hair out of his face. At first he thinks it’s just dirt, sleep grime in the corner of his eye, but when he rubs at it, it’s still there.

Hermann touches the slightly looser skin at the corner of his eye, the first creeping corners of crows feet.

Something huge and terrible open in his stomach, a Breach of Kaiju implications and nightmares. He paws at his face, pulling at his mouth to find fine creases that had never been there before, runs tracing faintly from nose to mouth and no no no-

Hermann stumbles away from the sink, he slips and nearly falls, only just catching himself on his stick and spinning away on his heel.

No. No. Oh god no. Anything but that. Dear god please please-

In the bed, Newt stirs sleepily, tangled in blankets. “Herms-” half asleep.

He can’t- he can barely think of it himself. Hermann throws himself at the door and out, staggering down the steps into the deserted midnight corridors of the Shatterdome.

The air is cold, damp and stale. He needs air. He needs to get out-

Hermann has no idea how, but he manages to find his way out to the helipad. He staggers across the bare concrete, feet slipping in the puddles, the driving rain lashing through his jacket. He stumbles, nearly falls over, and gropes at the railing.

“Please god no-” His voice is lost in the heavy, wet rain.

If he dies- and just thinking it is hideous, makes it real- if he dies, he won’t remember. He and Newt will die and be reborn and unless there is some- some miracle- they could live entire lives and never see each other again.

This could be the last life they have.

Hermann screams. The rain deadens his voice, flattens it into the grey haze.

It was always so hard- even before, when he knew and could look for Newt. What chance could they possible have now? The two of them, wandering blind through the world. One of however many billions it would be by then. Ships in endless night, blind and unknowning, forever passing and gone.
skull_bearer: (Default)
via http://ift.tt/2ctqWH8:
Sequel to this fic: http://ift.tt/2chK7BP

GorjiraKaiju’s stall is- maybe not as deserted as Hermann had predicted. It’s awkward, not only because Hermann is going to have to admit he was wrong, but when he comes close enough to see through a gap in the crowds and see GorjiraKaiju…

Well.

The ambiance of a con doesn’t lend itself too well to making a good impression. Hermann is suddenly acutely aware of how sick and sallow he looks under the fluorescent lighting, the thin streams of sweat coursing under his collar and down his back from the stifling heat of thousands of people.

GojiraKaiju, however, seems to glow. The heat gives his round, expressive face a warm flush, his wild dark hair standing up in all directions. He’s pushed up his sleeves, showing off full, solid forearms, and-

“Good God-” Hermann stares, shakes his head. GojiraKaiju looks up, frowns at him a little. “You made tattoos?”

“Um, yeah?” He crosses his arms and the way the designs shift under that movements is- Hermann swallows. “I’m an artist dude, I sell these to parlours, I’ll have you know.”

“I know you’re enamoured with these things.” Hermann stamps over, and pulls Newt’s arm over so he can get a better look. Dear God, that’s Ghidorah. “But surely that’s going too far.”

GojiraKaiju squints at him, then blinks. “SpaceChampion?”

“Of course.” He pulls up GojiraKaiju’s sleeve, Mothra waves antenna at him from Newt’s bicept. “Do you think I’d come up and molest and insult a complete stranger?”

“Um, yeah. Actually, that’s exactly what I’d expect from you.” But he is smiling, “I’m Newt, by the way.”

Hermann looks up, appalled. “Is this some new artist name? Do you want to make me nostalgic for your old pseudonym?”

“Oh, fuck you.” Newt pushes him, very lightly. “It’s my name, what’s yours anyway? Sir Sourarse von Tightypants?”

“Hermann Gottlieb.” Hermann scowls. He cocks his head and oh Gott there’s more, he can see the curl of some scaly tail just under the edge of Newt’s collar. “How many of these have you got?”

“Wanna find out?” Newt leans forward, grins.

Part of Hermann reels, uncertain, but he ploughs through it. He looks Newt up and down, trying to seem unimpressed. “I admit some morbid curiosity.”

“Good,” Newt scribbles something down and tears off a scarp of paper to give to him. “Cause I wanna find out how far that stick up your ass goees- in the name of science.”

He turns away to sign someone’s custom-printed Godzilla t-shirt, and Hermann looks down at the paper in his hand.

It’s a hotel room details, and a phone number.

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