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Tentacle Monster, Attack!

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“Mako. Mako, no!” Newt uses his big hands to make the gestures, to try and convey how super not-kidding he totally is. Totally. “Stay ba—!” He only gets halfway through the sign for “back” when Mako’s foot connects with his knuckles. She’s not wearing shoes, so it doesn’t hurt. But still!

“Newt.” And now she has the gall to scold him! “You could have dodged that.”

He could’ve, and does for the next two punches. “Seriously, dude,” he tries again. “Stop! Please!”

Eventually, Mako does. Dropping her arms with a huff. “Newton! It’s just a few little lessons. Stop being such a baby.”

“It’s not, dude. It’s totally not,” he signs back. He hesitates, then: “You wouldn’t understand.”

“What’s there to understand?” Hermann, sitting at the side of the stupid dojo, leaning on his stupid cane and scowling like a constipated gargoyle. He’s the stupid reason Newt is here in the first stupid place.

“Don’t you start,” he tells Hermann, through the bond so only they can hear it.

Hermann, of course, doesn’t just start; he middles and ends, as well. “I will not go through another kidnapping,” he snaps. “We’ve well established there are people out there who will stoop very low indeed to harm you. The least you can do is learn to defend yourself.”

“Aim lower, asshole. I don’t think you quite hit my hectocotylus.”

Hermann just scoffs, rolling his eyes. He’s cute when he does that. And Newt won’t lie, because exasperated Hermann has always been his favorite Hermann. Especially now the man’s lost the ridiculous haircut, shaved after some unfortunate, impromptu, kidnapping-related brain surgery. It’s now grown back into a soft fuzz that Newt—who doesn’t have hair at all any more—likes to rub his hands over. Much to Hermann’s annoyance.

“Stop flirting in Drift, you two.” Great, now Mako is giggling. Also, the bond formed by Newt’s kaiju brain slug parasite isn’t a Drift, but whatever. “Newt, Hermann is right,” Mako continues. “If not for yourself, think about your family.”

“Okay. I take it back. That’s right in the fucking spermatophore sacs. Ouch.”

Thing is, when she says it, Newt does think about his family, which means Hermann does too, because Newt’s family is Hermann’s family, and… Fuck. There it is. Like a lance of panic, a lightning bolt arcing between three brains in two bodies.

“Fuck you, Mori,” he signs.

“That’s the spirit.” She smiles, sweet and innocent, and Newton Geiszler has never met anyone more evil than Mako Mori. “Now”—she claps her hands together—“fight me. Attack.”

“I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Don’t flatter yourself.” Raleigh, who’s here because Mako is here, and whom Newt is trying very hard to ignore. “Mako’s taken down bigger kaiju than you.”

The good thing about having four arms, Newt thinks, is he can flip off Raleigh four times. The great thing about bioluminescence is he can put on a light show while he does it.

“Eyes front,” Mako orders. “Now attack!”

Newt looks down at his hands. His big ones, the claws he mostly uses for walking but knows are really there for fighting. He’s tested them—grip strength, punch force, Mohs hardness of the nails—because he’s tested all of himself. But in a lab. He’s knotted rebar and bitten through concrete and outrun a Jeep and it’s all actually kind of fun. He’s a badass, it’s true. But doing all that? Miles away from actually attacking a person. Miles, and—

And suddenly a lot of footsteps, bursting into the dojo.

“Is it true? Is it happening?”

About half a dozen people, mostly asshole untested Jaeger pilots, are all suddenly shoving themselves into the doorway.

“What?” Raleigh, to his credit, does the interloper intercept run.

“We heard Mako Mori was fighting the kaiju. Is it true?”

Newt growls, just a little bit. He can’t help it, nor can he help the way his dorsal plates hike up in annoyance, blue glowing in between the gaps. Maybe a little bit of acid spit. Just a little. People always run from the acid. Except the Marshal would probably make him repair the dojo floor afterwards. Kangaroo-boning jerk.

“Get out,” Raleigh orders. He puts his hand on the interloping ringleader’s forehead, physically pushing him back out of the dojo. “Ranger Mori is participating in some important scientific tests with Doctor Geiszler. It’s not a spectator sport.” Okay, so maybe Raleigh only deserves three birds, not four, next time.

Once he’s evicted the others, Raleigh slams the dojo doors so hard the walls rattle. Then he takes his chair and plants it in front of the jamb, lest anyone else be tempted to buy tickets. He makes an apologetic gesture with his hands. “Location secured,” he says. “Please continue.”

Mako smiles at him, then at Newt. She raises her arms and shifts her stance, bouncing on her toes, wiggling her fingers; the full come at me, bro body language.

Newt looks at his claws again, then sighs.

Then he roars, and attacks.


“Enough!”

Thirty seconds later, Mako is on her back on the tatami, laughing. Newt leaps back from her like she’s on fire, extremely glad no one in the room (bar Hermann, jerk) knows what a blushing kaiju looks like.

He helps her up, and she brushes herself off, then gives him a hug. “You’re holding back,” she says. “But I forgive you.”

She takes a step back, hands still on Newt’s shoulders, and looks at him critically. “Hm. You favor open-handed strikes rather than punches, hands rather than feet. Primary arms are left dominant, secondary right.” She points at the appendages in question as she says this. “Legs… left dominant?”

Newt nods. “Controlled by different brains,” he signs. The big arms and his legs by the secondary brain, to be precise. So is the acid spit, his tail, and the k-lobe connection to the kaiju hive mind he regularly amputates to keep himself sane. It’s all designed to keep him fighting, in the event he takes a debilitating shot to the head and, thus, his higher cognitive functions. The secondary brain is in his ass, protected by hip bones and the dorsal plates; much harder to get to and thus to damage. Which makes the brain surgery fun, every time. They’re getting better with the keyhole stuff, but the trick is finding instruments that can survive prolonged immersion in Kaiju Blue. It’s all super-ruthless shit, a million years of bioweapons engineering. Newt gives the 101 run-down to Mako, who looks thoughtful.

She opens her mouth as if to speak, but it’s Hermann who says: “Show her everything, Newton. For god’s sake, she’s trying to help you.”

There go the dorsal plates again. “Don’t you dare!”

But Mako is looking at him, quizzical. “Newt?”

“Don’t worry about it,” he signs. “It’s not important.”

“Like hell it isn’t.” And, great, now Hermann is coming over.

Newt skips backwards. “You stay the fuck away from me!”

“You’re a child,” Hermann snaps. He’s close enough that he lashes out with his cane, aiming at Newt’s belly. Newt catches it, easy, so Hermann lunges in with a hand. Newt catches that, too, and they end up in an awkward sort of slap fight in the middle of the dojo.

“Cut it out, dude! You can’t win, I have more limbs than you!”

“Yes, I know. That’s the point!”

“Do you two need to be alone?”

“Raleigh!”

“I don’t undress you in public!”

“Really? Is that true? Because I can think of at least… three? No, four instances where it hasn’t been.”

“Okay, dude. That was… that was totally different! And, uh—”

“I really feel this is some weird mating dance we shouldn’t be—”

Newt isn’t sure how it happens, exactly, and that’s the point. Because, yeah, he has more limbs than Hermann, but he’s currently standing on two, while Hermann isn’t. Hermann still has his cane, though, and somehow, while Newt’s thinking about that time at New Year’s which totally doesn’t count Hermann you asshole, Hermann’s cane hits him right in the sternum.

Or, rather, would hit him. If Newt doesn’t catch it. With something other than his arms.

“—holy fucking shit is that what I think it is?” Raleigh, changing tack mid sentence.

And, no. Newt is almost certain it’s not what Raleigh thinks it is. At least, not exactly.

“I hate you so much,” he tells Hermann.

“You’ll thank me later.” Smug asshole. Newt wants to drop him, but doesn’t, because he isn’t a huge fuckknuckle like some people. So instead he puts Hermann back down on the floor, and hands him back his cane, and—

“You have a tentacle!” Mako, giggling so hard she’s gone beet red.

Newt sighs, and extends the others, too. “I have six,” he tells her. Technically, it’s seven—or eight, counting his tongue—but the seventh he’s really not showing to anyone except Hermann. Later, while Newt is “thanking him” for his “valuable contribution” to today’s exercise.

(Hermann, for his part, shifts ever-so-slightly at this thought, tugging at the hem of his jacket. Hah! Serves him right. Jerk.)

Six ventral tentacles, normally kept coiled up in the abdomen, visible only as slits in the skin of Newt’s belly. He can extend them about three feet, the top two are slightly bigger and stronger than the bottom, and they taper to blunt points at the end. They’re tentacles, muscular hydrostats. He’s sure everyone’s seen muscular hydrostats before. Like every time they open their mouths, the stupid mammals.

“Can I touch one?” Mako asks.

“Sure,” Newt signs, mostly just for both the slightly alarmed look on Raleigh’s face and the scowl on Hermann’s.

“Too late to be jealous now, dude. This is your fault.” Fuck Hermann, basically. Which Newt totally intends to do. Later.

For now, Newt ends up hand-in-tentacle with Mako. She giggles. “They’re soft. But strong. Like a snake. Are they for fighting?”

Newt resists the urge to look at Hermann, barely. “Not… really,” he signs. They are definitely, definitely not for fighting. They are absolutely, one-hundred percent used not for that. Newt has multiple doctorates in biology, including kaiju biology, and this is something he is completely certain of. And, okay. They aren’t purely sex organs, either. But still. “I guess they could be,” he hedges. “Used for fighting, I mean. I could probably tear someone’s arm off, if I had to?” Stupid flimsy little human arms. He could also tear one off with his dick, if it came to it.

“Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that,” Mako says. “But thank you for showing me. It will definitely help.” She takes a step back, and Newt withdraws the tentacles into his abdomen. It feels… weird. He’s not sure he’s going to be able to look Raleigh in the eye for, like, a month.


Mako designs a training regime, based around Newt’s natural fighting instincts, and she makes him wake up at dawn every morning to practice it. Said training doesn’t actually involve hitting any living things, which Newt finds endlessly relieving. Mostly just repetitive practicing of forms, over and over again. Which is dull as hell but, hey. At least no-one’s getting hurt.

Then, after a month or so, he starts sparring with Mako for real. Or, at least, for real within the limits of whatever exercise they’re training that particular day. Newt ends up with a lot more bruises than he expected to. Still, Mako seems pleased with his progress, even if Newt isn’t.

“I know I’m doing well,” he confesses to her during one session break. “Too well. That’s the problem. There’s a part of me… it already knows how to fight. It’s… It’s not the human part.” Fighting is encoded in his DNA, now. It’s what he is; a weapon, honed by alien masters, designed to destroy the only home he’s ever known. The home he loves, even full of asshole jerks as it is.

“Oh, Newt,” says Mako. She’s sitting next to him on the floor, and she leans against his side, takes his big kaiju claw in her small human hands.

“I think… I think I killed someone,” he tells her. “When they took me to the ship. They had harpoons. Electrified. They hurt, and… And I wasn’t thinking straight. I lashed out, and… He hit the wall. I heard a crack, and… and he didn’t get back up again.” Kaiju don’t cry. Somewhere below, still half asleep in the dorms, Newt feels Hermann stir. Feels the muzzy concern through the bond.

“It’s okay. I’m fine. Go back to sleep, dude.”

To Mako, he signs: “I don’t want to hurt anyone else.”

“Oh, Newton,” Mako says, voice kind and heartbroken.

“It’s in me,” he tells her. “And sometimes… Sometimes I’m afraid if I…” He trails off, hands falling silent against his chest.

Mako is silent for a moment. Then:

“When we pilot the Jaeger, we control them. But not entirely. They have code, Hermann’s code. To do things it would take us too long to control consciously. We choose which routines to run—to move an arm or a leg—but the execution has been programmed long before we ever set foot inside the Conn-Pod. Sometimes, that execution is wrong, or inefficient, or buggy. In battle, we can correct for the bad routines, but it takes effort. Concentration. Something we don’t have room for, when lives are at stake. So, between battles, we have to run and re-run over those routines, to make sure everything is as smooth and as correct as it can be. And, if it’s not, we need to fix it. Before it becomes life-and-death.”

Newt nods. He knows this. Better than most people, even, because of Hermann.

“It’s the same with you,” Mako says. “You have code, too. In here.” Not quite, given she puts her hand over where his heart would be, if he were human. But Newt appreciates the sentiment. “And next time lives are on the line, we need to be sure that code is smooth and correct. So when you’re afraid, or in pain, your body knows what you need it to do without you having to think, or to fight it. A smooth machine, control so honed it becomes instinct. I know you don’t want to hurt people, Newton. But you’re very big now, and very fast, and very strong. And when you’re not careful, you can forget that. But, with practice, you won’t. You will be in control, always, even when you’re not.” She gives him a smile, wraps his big claw in both her hands. “Okay?”

He nods, slowly. “Okay,” he signs. Then: “Thanks, dude. For everything.”

“Anytime,” she says, and kisses him between the nares. “Now. Twenty more minutes, okay?” She jumps to her feet, and Newt tries not to groan.


Six months later, and the surrurataion in the dojo is deafening.

“I’m sure you’ve all noticed, we have a special tutor for today’s class.”

Newt, who’s sitting up the front of said class, behind Mako, doesn’t look up from his phone. That doesn’t mean he can’t see the room full of eager young Ranger wannabes staring right at him. Stupid tertiary eyes and their stupid four pi steradian visual radius.

“Hands up anyone who’s been vaccinated against k-virus,” says Raleigh, who’s leaning against a post next to Mako.

Every hand in the class goes up—including Mako’s and Raleigh’s—because of course it does. Full-spectrum shots are compulsory for all PPDC staff, with boosters at least every six months.

“So those of you who paid attention in induction,” Raleigh continues, “will recognize Doctor Newton Geiszler.”

“Doctor Geiszler is the inventor of the k-vaccine,” Mako adds. “And the world’s foremost expert on the kaiju and the hive mind.”

“It— he’s a kaiju!” says someone who, quite evidently, was not paying attention during induction.

“Doctor Geiszler was born in Berlin,” says Raleigh. “He holds six doctorates—”

Here, Newt raps on the wall and, when he has Raleigh’s attention, holds up some fingers.

“—apparently now eight doctorates”—it’a actually more like twenty-something, but Newt isn’t counting all the honorary ones—“has taught at MIT, and was instrumental in the success of Operation Pitfall. If anyone here thinks they are more qualified than Doctor Geiszler, or more important to Earth’s defense, then the door is that way and I’ll expect your withdrawal from the program by this afternoon.”

Absolutely no one moves, although there is a lot of awkward shuffling.

“Good!” says Mako, after a moment. She claps her hands together. She’s facing away from Newt, so he can’t see her expression, but he’s almost positive it’ll be her perky schoolgirl smile. She always, he knows, gets that smile when she’s about to watch someone get a well-deserved beatdown. “We’re very lucky today,” she continues, “because Doctor Geiszler has agreed to assist with a practical demonstration in kaiju combat.”

So, yeah. This is happening, mostly because Mako had used her shimmery anime eyes on Newt until he’d relented.

“Daikaiju are getting a bit thin in the sea,” Raleigh tells the class, to some nervous laughter. “But, as Jaeger pilots, you’re still expected to be ready to go hand-to-hand with one should, heaven forbid, such a need arise.”

“Doctor Geiszler is kaijin, so he is more your size, and you will spar with him individually, with the weapon of your choice,” Mako says. “Do not underestimate him. He fights with the ferocity of a kaiju and the unpredictability of a human.”

“Learn everything you can from today’s exercise,” Raleigh finishes. “Most everyone else in your position, past and present, hasn’t and won’t have this opportunity. Be grateful, and good luck. You’ll all need it.”


Newt’s first opponent is an American kid named Larson.

“He’s good,” had been Raleigh’s debrief. “But not as good as he thinks he is. He’ll underestimate you.”

This turns out to be true, and then some; Newt has Larson on the mat within a minute, much to Mako’s ill-concealed glee. Larson’s partner—his sister, and thus also a Larson—takes a little longer, if only because she learns from her asshole brother’s mistakes.

The Liu twins are the first to take Newt down, one after the other. They bow and thank him in HKSL before and after, and Newt thinks he’s seen them sometimes, watching him train with Mako (when they can avoid the Raleigh Becket Eviction Squad).

Cárdenas is the first person to really hesitate to fight. When pressed on his reluctance, he confesses that, “There was an outbreak at my son’s school. K5S12.”

Newt winces, that one is… rough, even by k-virus standards. “I’m sorry, dude,” he signs, Mako translates.

It’s the first time he’s spoken to the class, and Cárdenas visibly startles. So do a lot of the others.

“I…” Cárdenas says, eyes looking everywhere by Newt. “I’d joined the Corps the week before. My family had just been given the vaccination. My son, he coughed blue for a week, so hard he broke three ribs. But he survived. Most other children didn’t.”

Newt sighs. “The PPDC does what it can,” he says, and mostly believes it. “To make the vaccine available. But some people, I dunno man. They just won’t take it.” The conspiracy theory is it’s the vaccine that turns people in kaiju—or worse—which is part of the reason Newt’s, ahem, “condition” isn’t widely known. It pisses him off, but what’s he supposed to do about it? People are idiots.

Cárdenas just nods. “I know,” he says. “I know. It’s not… Please. Don’t misunderstand me. I just…” Here he does look up, into Newt’s eyes. “I can’t fight the man who saved my son.”

Ah.

Newt thinks, very carefully, before finally saying:

“Dude, I get it, I do. But, believe me, you gotta give it a shot. Because one day, it might be you who has to save someone else’s kid. And when that happens, you don’t wanna be stuck thinking, ‘Fuck. If only I’d punched that scientist asshole in the gills when I had the chance.’ You know?”

Cárdenas laughs, a startled bark. So do most of the rest of the class, if only for the novelty of hearing Mako Mori say the word “fuck”.

“Very well,” Cárdenas says. “Who am I to argue with the great Doctor Geiszler?” He gives an awkward sort of smile.

“Wait,” Newt tells him, miming looking for his phone. “Dude. Say that again and let me record it. I can play it back for Herms next time he tries to tell me I’m wrong about something.”

In the end, Newt beats Cárdenas, but it’s a long match, and a close one.

Ziegler and Groß are from Bielefeld (or, rather, aren’t from Bielefeld), and want to give Newt a hug and take a selfie.

“We thought you were American!” Groß says. Newt makes a face that has most of the class laughing, and earns him another hug in apology.

He beats Groß, then loses to Ziegler, and the pair want to take him out for beers.

“I don’t drink,” he tells them, which earns a mock gasp of horror. “But I’ll eat the bottles when you’re done.”

Eighteen pilots, and Newt takes out maybe half. It’s a long day, and he’s tired and aching by the end of it, but he also gets a lot of handshakes and hugs and seemingly earnest thank yous. So maybe it hasn’t been the most horrible thing in the world.

Just before everyone leaves, Mako says:

“I hope everyone has found today valuable. And I’d like to say thank you to Doctor Geiszler once again for his assistance.” She starts clapping, and everyone else follows along. Newt’s glad his expressions are difficult to read if people aren’t used to them, because he’s pretty sure he’s making a hell of a goofy one.

“One last thing,” Raleigh says, as everyone is filing out. “I’m sure it hasn’t escaped anyone’s notice, but it’s worth pointing out anyway. You all fought Newt one-on-one. Some of you beat him, some of you didn’t. Meanwhile, he took on all of you. I want you to think about that, if the time to do so ever comes.”


Newt’s floating, half-asleep, in the lab pool when Hermann finds him. Newt opens an eye or two, then more when he realizes Hermann is naked. He watches as Hermann slips into the water, giving one long, completely unfair, groan as the water takes the weight off his leg. Newt’s mostly muted the bond, if only so Hermann hasn’t had to live through every punch and kick Newt’s had over the last twelve hours, but he opens it now, just a little. Just enough to feel the edge of Hermann’s pain as it diffuses out in the warm water of the pool.

When Hermann’s settled against the edge, Newt float himself over, head butting gently into Hermann’s chest. This earns him a contented sigh and a pair of hands, rubbing between his nares and along his brow-ridges. It feels good, so he wraps his own arms around Hermann’s waist, and they just stay there for a while, quiet and still, in body if not in mind.

Eventually, Newt says:

“You’ll figure it out, dude. Don’t stress so much.” He means the Hawking Field. It’s been Hermann’s major project since the k-virus started. The new Breaches are tiny, virus-sized, but that means they’re less stable than the big Breach. It’d taken Hermann a month to prototype the first h-pulse device—a thing that could force-close a small-scale Breach—but a lot longer to try and perfect a way of Breach-proofing the entire world. In theory, no Breaches can be opened inside an area covered by an h-field. In practice, the energy required to sustain one is prohibitive. So they’ve got them erected at a few key places, i.e. the Shatterdome, but Hermann won’t be happy until they get something that can run off a domestic power grid. Something that can protect everyone, all the time. Not just people designated wealthy and important.

“There was another outbreak today,” Hermann says. “In Kuala Lumpur. K2E3.” One of the early gen variants. They’ve got a spectrum vaccine for that, but the penetration into the population isn’t great. Especially in places like KL. Poverty and whatever, the usual story.

“That’s not your fault,” Newt says. He holds Hermann a little tighter, nuzzles a little closer again a too-thin belly. It’s not that Hermann doesn’t eat. He just seems physically incapable of putting on weight.

“It’s early,” Hermann says, “but they’re predicting the death toll to be around thirty thousand.”

“Fuck.”

“Indeed.”

Thirty thousand dead from K2E3. Fuck. It doesn’t stabilize—nothing does, yet, knock on wood and all that—and the K2 strains only affect humans. But it’s a nasty death; flesh sloughing off bones, organs swelling and turning into ammonia-oozing mush. Projectile vomit, diarrhea, the works. It kills almost as many people from exposure to the victims as it does the victims themselves. Hundred percent casualty rate for the infected, of course. About three percent even amongst the vaccinated. Fuck. Maybe they were better off with the daikaiju. At least Hermann could predict those.

“It’s still not your fault, dude,” Newt says, because he believes it. “You’re doing everything you can.”

“But it’s not enough.” Hermann’s fist slams into the edge of the pool as he says it. Newt feels the lance of pain, of frustration, as keenly as if they were his own. At the moment, they are. “If we could just… There has to be a way of generating the field with a lower energy consumption. I know there’s waste in the exchange. I just can’t work out where.”

Newt lifts himself up, out of the water, until his nose is level with Hermann’s. Until they’re looking eye-to-eyes. “And yet, surprisingly, running yourself to exhaustion isn’t helping.” No wonder Hermann’s leg’s killing him. The man’s been racing around all day, shouting at helpless techs. Fuck. Things are so fucked up.

Newt noses against Hermann’s lips, licking them gently. Hermann sighs, opens his mouth, allows the kiss. It’s good, because kissing Hermann always is and always was, human or kaiju or what-the-fuck-ever. Hermann is a prissy, priggish asshole and Newt’s loved him pretty much from the first email. The feeling hasn’t always been mutual but, fuck. Newt wouldn’t trade for anything, or anyone, else.

He rolls over, taking Hermann with him, until he’s floating out in the pool and Hermann is spread out across his belly. Newt runs both sets of hands down Hermann’s back, over his ass, enjoys the feeling of contented arousal that replaces the jittering anxiousness, ricocheting across their bond.

Hermann sighs, rubs himself against Newt’s abdomen. “So. That was my day. How was yours? You’ve been unusually quiet.”

“Yeah, sorry dude. Doing Mori and Becket’s training bullshit with the Jaeger wannabes. Didn’t want you to have to feel every lucky hit.” Kaiju heal fast, at least when it comes to things like broken bones and severed limbs. Bruises? Bruises heal about the same as on humans. And, fuck, but does Newt have a lot of bruises.

“You seemed to be enjoying yourself, from what I could feel. So it can’t have been all bad.” Hermann rubs himself, half-hard, against Newt’s stomach. His hand finds one of the tentacle slits, and he starts to rub at that, too.

“Was okay. Got to beat the shit out of a bunch of asshole pilots. And some of them weren’t too bad.” Newt can take a hint, unsheathes his tentacles and wraps them around Hermann’s squirming body. Fuck, but it feels good. Feels good because of Hermann’s soft and willing flesh, shivering under Newt’s touch. Feels good because of Newt’s warm and strong touch, stroking Hermann’s flesh.

People sometimes ask Newt, whether he misses it. Misses being human. His answer is always a lie, but a lie that varies depending on who he’s talking to. Because, yeah. He misses being able to go to concerts and he misses seeing his family. He loves being able to punch through steel and deflect bullets and being able to swim to Manila in a day.

But mostly? Mostly what he loves is this. Is him, and Hermann, and not knowing where he ends and Hermann begins. Is sharing every shuddering breath, every pleasured moan. Is sharing the pain, too, and the horror. Is knowing, being certain, of the connection. It’s the end of loneliness, of uncertainty. Of the reassurance of connection. That no matter the arguments, the petty disagreements, it’s knowing he can be there for someone, and they can be there for him in turn.

Hermann moans, when Newt’s hectocotylus—that monster fucking tentacle dick—presses against his hole. He lifts his hips up, pushes his ass out, and Newt presses in, slick and slimy and, fuck. Yeah. It’s good. It’s good for Hermann and it’s good for him, so it’s better for both of them combined.

Hermann’s hips are up, so Newt moves one of his tentacles, wraps it around Hermann’s dick and starts to pump. Hermann’s hung like a fucking kaiju, always was, and that’s part of why Newt’s been lusting after the guy since he was, like, in his twenties. Part of why, but not the only why, because fuck Hermann is hot when he’s slack-jawed with lust and pleasure. When he can forget the pain, if only for a moment, and lose himself in something better. Newt still remembers the first time he made Hermann look like that. Still remembers vowing to make it happen again, whenever and wherever he could, for as long as Hermann would let him. It’s a promise he hasn’t always been great at keeping, but fuck if it’s for lack of effort.

“You’re quixotic tonight,” Hermann says, voice breathless and gasping.

“Long day,” is Newt’s excuse but, honestly, every day is a long day if he’s not spending it doing this. Rubbing Hermann inside and out, feeling every shuddering moment that both is and isn’t his.

Four hands and eight tentacles, tongue included, and still it isn’t enough. He feels the start of Hermann’s orgasm, building warm and strong within his gut. Feels it unravel, Hermann pulsing cum into the sea. It hits Newt a moment later, and he submerges his head beneath the water to hide his howl. It’s so good, eight limbs tightening around Hermann’s frail form as Newt comes, hot and thick and deep. Hermann shudders again from the feeling, his own spent cock twitching, and the echo of the orgasm bounces between them like a Newton’s cradle.

Above him, Newt feels Hermann sigh, feels the pain ease as the Pure Blue works its way into his system. When Newt surfaces again, he knows patches of Hermann’s skin will be glowing, so very softly, beneath the appropriated ink.

That’s part of the reason for the tattoos; they’re not just sentimentality over Newt’s lost humanity. Because Newt’s mutations are the most obvious, so that’s where most everyone stopped looking. The crazy kaiju groupie who turned himself into a monster. But, truth is, Hermann’s almost as far gone as Newt is. Almost. His blood is just as blue and his skin glows after he’s cum, but if he keeps his shirt on, he looks human. He has four limbs and one brain, and it’s close enough for rock and roll, but every single cell in his body is bursting with the k-virus. No small part of that is due to Newt. Constant reinfection, a Faustian bargain between the wasting disease that’s destroying Hermann’s body and the virus that threatens his humanity. Newt can’t undo the damage that’s been done, not yet, but he can stop the rest from happening.

Hermann would be in a wheelchair, if he weren’t part monster. It’s a trade he’s made willingly, much to Newt’s benefit.

He wouldn’t trade the life they have for anything. Kaiju be damned.

“Now you’re just being maudlin,” Hermann says.

“Yeah,” Newt agrees. “It’s been that sort of day.” Very slowly, he begins to disentangle himself from Hermann. Mentally, if not physically. Well, not entirely physically; Hermann sighs when Newt slides his cock out, a gush of Pure Blue following in its wake. There’s enough HC-Orange being pumped through the pool filters that it won’t affect the wildlife.

Hermann rolls over, so his back is against Newt’s belly. So he can fall asleep without drowning. Newt withdraws his tentacles, shifts his arms so he’s holding Hermann safe against his skin.

“And tomorrow is another day,” Hermann says, words slurred and sleepy.

“Yeah,” Newt agrees. “Another day, another war.”

His only response is a dull sigh. Then a snore.