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This Ship Has Sailed

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The lights were bright enough on the stage to make Newt break into a bit of a sweat, and he wondered how Hermann could still be wearing his full suit and sweater vest and not be burning up. Hermann was just about finished with his last section of the joint lecture, the conjectures he had about the position of the homeworld of the kaiju according to the positions of the stars Gypsy Danger had glimpsed. Newt zoned out; he barely understood this part, and he'd heard it several times. He counted up in his head how many universities they'd given this kind of presentation to so far - seven, eight? A little different every time, because the specialties of each university were different. At least this section was short.

"But we won't know for sure," Hermann said, signaling the end, "unless we somehow visit the homeworld again. I am sure you all share my sentiments when I say that it is my dear hope it shall remain forever a mystery."

"So," Newt said, sitting up in his chair beside the computer controlling the projections, "let's get to the fun part. Discussion! Let's take questions, shall we? You there, in the blue cap."

Blue Cap had a biology question, about the modified Kaiju Blue from Otachi's infant. Next was a question about the possibility of the Breach reopening, and a question about the implications of the drift Hermann and Newt had shared with the hive mind. A young woman in front tentatively raised her hand, and Newt called on her.

"Um, I hope this is ok to ask?" she said, making every sentence fragment into a question, "But some of my friends and I were wondering? Um, are you and Dr. Gottlieb ... ?"

"Hm?" Newt said. "Are we what? I didn't hear."

She piped up. "Are you guys together?"

"Oh for pity's sake," Hermann said, rolling his eyes.

Newt laughed, leaning on his knees. "Really? Hey, show of hands. How many people here were wondering the same thing?" A decent number of hands went up, mostly female. Newt laughed louder, holding his belly. Hermann stiffened even more, his grave expression forbidding, but Newt didn't care a bit. "Hermann!" he cried, "Hermann, they ship us!"

"They what?"

"They like the idea of us being together! Being IN LOVE. With ROMANCE." The crowd laughed along with him, throwing in a few supporting woots and hoots.

Hermann pinched the bridge of his nose. "Newton, wrap this up, please. I'd like to get back to science."

"Fine, fine," Newt said, fishing in his pocket. He brought out a little box, opened it and put a silver ring on the third finger of his left hand. He held it up and said, with an enormous grin, "The wedding's in October."

The audience broke out in screaming applause and quite a few catcalls. Newt ate it up, beaming at Hermann, while Hermann tolerated it like an enormous dog tolerates a rampaging toddler - with a pained expression and what he considered the patience of worlds.

Eventually, Newt quieted the crowd and Hermann said to the crowd, "Now, no more personal questions, let's get back to the purpose of the lecture, please." Well, he mostly said it to the crowd. He added a look at Newt at the end that quite clearly meant he included Newt in that command.

It was an excellent discussion, and some of the theories proposed provided fodder for papers from many of the students present. But much to Hermann's chagrine, that particular lecture was eventually known as 'the romantic one.' It was forever after Newt's favorite.