It wasn’t Newt’s fault he was so short -- or he was just the right height that, when he hugged Hermann, his head landed on just the right spot. If it was anybody’s fault, it was Hermann’s, really, because he was the one who initiated the hug in the first place. It had been completely out of the blue. He’d just walked into the lab and practically tackled him, and Newt was just a helpless bystander in all this. Not that he was in any rush to escape or anything.
Hermann's arms were warm around him, and once he got over the initial shock of Hermann hugging him, it was easy to melt into the embrace. He kind of wanted to ask what he'd done to deserve a hug, just so he'd know for future reference, but he was afraid he'd ruin the moment. So he kept quiet -- which was pretty rare, for him.
His heart was beating steadily against his ear, and he felt really awkward about it. It was nice, but it made the whole thing feel a lot more intimate than Hermann probably meant for it to be. It was wrong, right? If he wasn’t a complete freak, it would’ve been fine, but he was, and it wasn’t. It was wrong to stand there with his head pressed against Hermann’s chest like it belonged there. It was invasive, kind of, even if Hermann didn’t realize it -- especially because Hermann didn’t realize it. He didn’t want to leave, but he didn’t feel right staying there, either.
Make something up. Some kinda excuse to get away -- anything -- think, genius.
“Uh, not that I wouldn’t love to stand around hugging it out all day, but I gotta-- uh, go. I’ve got samples that need to be, uh-- sampled,” he babbled.
He put a hand between him and Hermann and used it to shove space between them, and he kind of belatedly realized the end result was him sort of shoving Hermann away from him more than it was him pushing himself away.
Hermann gave him a startled look, something flickering in his eyes before “startled” turned into “mildly offended” before turning into downright nuclear, in that quiet way he got when he was really pissed. It had been awhile since he’d been on the receiving end of that look. A couple months, at least -- which had to be some kind of record.
“Yes, I have work to get back to, as well,” he replied icily, spinning around and heading off towards his side of the lab without another word.
Newt stood there for a couple minutes fighting the urge to run after to him explain, but he couldn’t think of any explanation that wasn’t going to make the whole thing worse, so after awhile he just went back to half-heartedly trying to salvage his kaiju saliva gland.
Hermann had needed to go for an annual physical he'd somehow managed to put off for several "annuals" and now the medical staff was threatening to put him on a mandatory leave of absence if he didn't come ASAP. Newt’d had a hard enough time not fidgeting through his for a variety of embarrassing reasons that were probably going to land him a ticket to hell, but he'd volunteered to tag along with Hermann anyway. He knew he hated doctors. He also knew Hermann would die before admitting it, or before asking anyone to go with him -- but if he hadn't wanted the company, he would've told Newt no.
He was a pretty private guy, so the fact that he even felt comfortable having Newt around probably meant they were having some kind of friendship level-up, and Newt really didn't want to screw things up by acting like a complete weirdo through the whole thing. Hopefully if he acted a little screwy, Hermann would just assume Newt was nervous around doctors, too, which… well, he wasn’t wrong.
He hadn’t gotten this far in life without being able to steel himself against boners in a doctor’s office, mostly. It helped that actual real medical doctors were more intimidating than sexy. He stared at the opposite corner of the room and counted the bolts in the floor when Hermann took off his shirt and the doctor got out the stethoscope. He was fine. He could handle this. He was not going to make this weird. He was going to think the most unsexy thoughts he could think of, and everything would be fine.
“Alright, now I’d like to do an ultrasound.”
Everything was not fine.
“Uh, what?” he stammered out before he could stop himself.
The doctor, thankfully, completely misread the expression on his face and said, in a calm, reassuring tone. “Everything’s fine. It’s just standard procedure when someone has gone so long between their annual evaluations.” He shot Hermann a sharp look.
Hermann shot a sharp look right back.
Newt could handle this. As long as he just kept doing the "not looking, not listening" thing, he could do this. He risked a glance at Hermann, who had that annoyed look on his face he usually reserved for him, but right now it was leveled at the doctor and the ultrasound machine the he wheeled into the room.
Newt fished his battered iPod out of the pocket of his jeans -- which was a lot easier said than done -- and hurriedly stuck the earbuds into his ears. Hermann wouldn’t hold it against him if he listened to a little bit of music, right? He was here for moral support not to sit and quietly flip out while Hermann got a check-up.
He turned the music up as high as he could without it being painful and tried to pretend the steady thumping he could still hear in the background was just the bass.
Newt didn't remember falling asleep on the couch, or even stopping to sit on the couch. He also didn't remember falling asleep on the couch with Hermann, or falling asleep on him, but apparently he'd done that, too. How sleep-deprived had they both been for something like this to even happen?
He’d been running on coffee and no sleep for almost three days straight. He was pretty sure Hermann had gone for even longer than that, though it was hard to know for sure with the way the days had started to sort of blur together. Okay, so the falling asleep together thing had been accidental, but would it really hurt to just lay there for awhile longer? If he got up, Hermann would wake up, and he needed the sleep just as much as Newt did, if not more.
Hermann's left arm was dangling off the couch, and his right was wrapped around Newt's shoulders. Loosely -- loose enough it wouldn't have stopped Newt from wriggling away if he wanted to. He... really didn’t want to. Hermann's heart was beating slow and steady in his ear. Newt wanted to just lay there and keep listening to it, and go back to sleep nestled against Hermann’s chest. He was so screwed. He was beyond screwed. He’d probably shot straight over screwed a year or two ago.
His eyelids drifted shut, a little, and he didn't quite have it in him to stop them. He woke up half an hour later, according to the clock, and it still didn't feel like enough -- of sleep or of Hermann's heart singing him a lullaby -- but he really couldn't justify staying there longer, even though he really, really wanted to.
At least this way, if he did wind up waking Hermann as he got up, he'd gotten a little more sleep than he would have if Newt had leapt off the couch right away.
Nice rationalization there, dude.
He was still going to try to avoid waking Hermann if he could, though. He was pretty sound asleep, so if he was careful he was pretty sure he could pull it off. He sat up, slowly, taking hold of Hermann’s arm and gently sliding out from under it and guiding it down against the rest of his body. Any time he snorted or moved, Newt froze, but it was all just little sleep movements, nothing that was actually conscious.
The last hurdle was getting over Hermann's legs, which were all that stood between him and being free of the couch. He slung a leg over them carefully -- which was hard to pull off in pants that tight -- and the couch creaked at the shifting weight. He cringed, but at this point if Hermann was going to wake up, there wasn't much he was going to be able to do to stop it. It was all or nothing, now. He took a deep breath and did an awkward hopping lunge off the couch that made his back hurt from the weird angle he'd done it from. He went flying off the couch and had to pinwheel his arms for a second to get his balance and avoid crashing into a nearby table.
He stood there for a couple of minutes, just to make sure Hermann was still asleep and in a comfortable spot. His breathing was still slow and even. His face was still half-buried in the pillow his head was resting on, and the lines of his face were a little less harsh than they were when he was awake.
Part of him wanted to just crawl back into the couch and sleep there with him for a couple more hours and he quashed it down so hard his chest ached. That was whole line of thought was dangerous and off-limits and he needed to go get work done or get lunch or something before he did something lovesick and stupid.
By the time Hermann woke up two hours later, Newt was elbow-deep in kaiju guts like nothing had ever happened.
Hermann's chest was heaving and his face was flushed. Newt had completely wrecked him, and he was pretty proud of his accomplishment.
"What are you grinning about?" Hermann panted.
"Is that a trick question?"
Hermann huffed out a short laugh and draped an arm over his face.
Newt chewed on his lip for a second before settling beside Hermann and laying his head on his chest. Hermann's heart was pounding, and Newt's dick twitched a little at the sound of it. It might've been a problem if he hadn't just shot his load all over Hermann's stomach a few minutes ago -- the little guy didn't have anything left.
He closed his eyes, and stayed there, and yeah, it wasn't one hundred percent innocent, but neither was the filthy sex they'd just had. Hermann's heart slowly reached a more restful rate and his breathing evened out. By the time Newt could have maybe pulled off a second round, the sound of it was more relaxing than it was lust-inducing and he was already starting to doze off.
Newt slumped against Hermann, and he was pretty sure if Hermann's torso hadn't been there he would've just full-on face planted on the floor. His whole body felt like an overcooked noodle, including his brain. Drifting sucked, he decided. It sucked, and he didn't like it. Maybe he could file a complaint.
Newt had expected him to be angry, he sounded more worried than angry. Of course, he hadn't expected Hermann to come in when he did. He'd thought he'd have time to wake up, peel himself off the floor, and recover from-- that. Shit. Shit.
"For the love of God, will you please say something?"
"Actual words, Newton."
A whole word, score!
Right. More words.
"Told you... it'd work..."
Hermann sighed and wrapped his arms around him. "You're insufferable."
Newt reached out to pat Hermann on the shoulder reassuringly but his hand wasn't cooperating and he ended up clinging to his sleeve instead. He couldn't stop shaking, and he wasn't sure if it was because he'd just drifted with a kaiju and fried his brain or because he'd just drifted with a kaiju and was scared shitless -- or both. He was going to be a little bit annoyed if there was any permanent damage, because his brain was the only reason anybody put up with him.
Hermann made a strangled noise and pulled him closer.
"M'okay," he repeated, head buried against Hermann's chest.
"That would be much more reassuring if you could form complete words."
Take that, fried neural pathways.
Something hot and wet dripped on his shirt.
He'd usually be a little embarrassed about being cradled in someone’s arms on the floor, but he also felt like Hermann's arms around him were the only things standing between him and a wet, fleshy world of blue with claws and teeth, so this worked okay for him. Hermann showed no signs of letting him go anytime soon, and Newt still wasn't sure if he could do the whole "standing upright" thing, so he was happy to let him hold him for awhile longer.
Someone’s heart was pounding in his ears, but he wasn’t sure if it was Hermann’s or his own.
"I saw things," Hermann said, "in the drift."
"Things? What kinda things?"
Newt tried his best to sound cool and nonchalant, because really Hermann could have seen anything, there's no reason to think it was anything... weird or compromising. If his heart kept pounding, though, it was going to give him away. Too bad he'd never been that good at self-control, because he was pretty sure the "shh, calm down" thoughts he was trying to direct towards his thoracic cavity were actually making it worse.
Hermann laugh was soft enough Newt felt it more than he heard it, vibrating against his torso and tickling the back of his brain -- which managed to feel both really weird and really cool at the same time.
"Okay, this is really unfair, because if you weren't already talking about what I thought you were talking about, I'm pretty sure you just read my mind, so I basically screwed myself over by even thinking about it in the first place.”
"Your heart's racing," Hermann said, and maybe it was just lingering adrenaline from everything that had happened, or the word "heart" coming out of Hermann's mouth and pertaining to Newt's, or both, but his dick took a sudden interest in the conversation.
That was definitely on purpose.
“Okay, now you're teasing me," Newt grumbled. He could feel the blush burning its way across his face and down his neck. His entire circulatory system was a traitor.
"A little," Hermann admitted.
"It's not like this is stuff you didn’t already know about, dude.”
“I didn’t know precisely how far back it went, in relation to me.”
“Look, it’s not like-- I wasn’t deliberately being creepy.”
“Only accidentally, then.”
Something sparked along the edge of his brain -- he was teasing him, again.
“I think I’m starting to rub off on you.”
“You’ve been rubbing off on me for several years, now.”
“See, that’s what I’m talking about! Sex jokes? I think too much of my brain went into your brain. Maybe you need another cat-scan.”
“I’m not upset, Newton. I don’t feel as though I’ve been violated. It just… adds context to some things.”
He was almost afraid to even ask. “Uh. Which things, specifically?”
“The day I heard you’d been involved in some kind of lab accident while I was away and--”
“Wait, what? What lab accident?”
Hermann elbowed him. “Will you please allow me to finish a sentence?”
“Nobody seemed able to tell me whether or not you were alright, so when I returned I hurried to the lab, and found you there, unharmed. I embraced you, and you shoved me away -- quite forcefully.”
“Oh my god.” Newt covered his face in his hands. “I’m gonna shoot whoever called that a lab accident. The refrigeration on one of my samples crapped out in transit and when I opened it, it was… gross. Really gross. I locked the place down until I got it cleaned up. Nothing even happened. Unless you count the whole lab reeking, which-- yeah, it smelled pretty bad, but it wasn’t anything dangerous.”
“Yes, clearly I’d heard a somewhat exaggerated version of events.”
“Also, I was trying to shove me away from you.”
“I realize that, now. At the time, your intent wasn’t exactly clear.”
“And the time when you accompanied me when I went for my physical...”
He was going to die. He was going to lay here in bed with Hermann and die, because his embarrassment was approaching lethal levels. He’d survived drifting with a kaiju brain -- twice -- and nearly getting eaten by a kaiju, just to die of embarrassment over stuff that happened years ago. Great.
“You fidgeted and looked everywhere but at me the entire time, like you regretted offering to go with me at all.”
Newt opened his mouth. That… wasn’t necessarily untrue, but it hadn’t been like that. Except it had. Or, at least, it had seemed like that to Hermann at the time, which was just as bad.
“Are you beginning to see a pattern?”
“Yeah,” he replied with a groan. “A pattern of me being an ass.”
“I wouldn’t say that. A pattern of rather unfortunate communication problems, perhaps, which is slightly more forgivable.”
Newt peeked between his fingers. “Slightly?”
"As for the matter of the time on the couch..."
Had the drift exposed his entire history of embarrassing moments? Did Hermann now have encyclopedic knowledge of every time Newt had embarrassed himself?
"It wasn't entirely accidental on my part."
Newt lifted his hands so he could get a better look at Hermann than his cracked finger peekaboo allowed. "What?"
"I was awake when you laid your head on my shoulder. I woke up some time later, you were still asleep, and so I... chose to go back to sleep."
"I awoke later and you were gone. On the other side of the lab, working, and I halfway convinced myself I'd dreamt the whole scenario."
"Did you often have dreams of cuddling me before we hooked up?” He grinned. “Was that a thing?"
Hermann looked up to shoot him a look that was too tender to be a glare. "I would hope it'd be obvious by now that my feelings for you are not a recent development."
Newt’s grin faltered slightly and he licked his lips. “It is.”
Maybe if he got lucky the mattress would just eat him or something.
“Newton, it’s alright.”
He wasn’t sure if Hermann could feel the embarrassment radiating off of him through their lingering telepathic link or if the horrified look on his face was just that obvious.
“Easy for you to say. Not only do I find out that you found out about some of the most awkward moments of my life but I also find out they made me look like a total jerk in the process.”
“And that’s… limited to situations involving me?”