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"People Might Laugh at Your Tattoos"

Title: People Might Laugh at Your Tattoos
Pairing: Hermann/Newt
Rating: NC-17
Summary: It's armor.
A/N: Because one piece like this apparently wasn't enough and I really wanted to title a Pacific Rim fic after this line in Amy AKA Spent Gladiator 1 so like
Story:

It's armor. It's secret, hiding in plain sight. They think he's eccentric. That's fine, he is eccentric. They think it's just another weird thing about him. Hermann openly hates them. That's fine. He doesn't need anyone to like them. He just can't let them see.

That's not true. He wants Hermann to like them. He wishes Hermann liked them. He wishes Hermann liked him.

It's fine, it's enough. Just as long as no one sees, as long as no one can tell.

It's been years. The tattoos help. Getting new ones helps, when the itch comes back. It hurts enough, and the scars it leaves covers the ones he made himself. He hates those. Those scars are pathetic. He's not pathetic. He's a rockstar. So daddy didn't love him, who cares. No one loved him, not for long. He doesn't need it. He's a genius. One day he's gonna save the world. Then everyone will love him.

He likes his body more now that it's colourful. He doesn't look the same. He looks better. Now he's not him anymore, he's art. A walking canvas. He can't damage it now, not when it looks like this.

He still hates it, but it's better now. Always getting better. He goes to get another one. He shows Hermann, just to get a rise.

"Newton, honestly, they're so distasteful."

"I think they're neat."

"You're an idiot."

Just smile. It doesn't matter.

He could die, they tell him. You can't Drift with a kaiju, it'll kill you. It could, or he could save the world. He could be a hero. He could be a hero even if it kills him. He tries to explain. He knows he can do this. He knows he can save everyone. It can be him. If it kills him, so be it. He'll die a hero, so it'll be worth it.

People die in the name of science all the time. People are dying for nothing and he just wants to be a hero.

Fuck them. They're all wrong, anyway. If it kills him, he hopes Hermann is sorry.

It doesn't kill him and he's right. He knew he would be.

He doesn't even think about what he might share in the Drift, when Hermann offers. He doesn't have the time to consider it. He just does it. He has to. He was right and now he's going to save the world. Both of them are.

But then his mother dies - no. No, Hermann's mother. His leg is killing him. He hides in numbers because they're all he has. He needs numbers because numbers don't lie to him or hurt him or leave and he's got to be the best at what he does so then maybe just maybe they'll notice maybe finally he'll matter to someone. Anyone, please, just notice.

Afterward, It takes a moment for Newton to breathe.

Hermann throws up in a toilet, and they go to save the world.

In the helicopter, Hermann is staring at him. He looks nervous, but how could he not be. Except Newton knows what Hermann's thinking. That fucking Drift ruined everything and now he knows what Hermann's thinking and it isn't about saving the world, it's about him.

It's not important, he wants to say, we've got to warn Pentecost, that's what's important.

Being inside Hermann's head was too much. Now he feels too close. No, too far away. He needs something and he doesn't know what it is until Hermann reaches out and wraps his fingers around Newton's wrist. That makes it a little better, so he leans into Hermann. There. A lot better.

His leg still hurts. He wants to tell Hermann he notices him. He likes him. He wants...he isn't sure what he wants anymore, but he wants it from Hermann. The grip on his hand tightens, and he realizes he doesn't have to say anything at all.

They get there just in time to save the world. Hermann leans on him as he screams into the microphone. He screams too. They're agreeing, so everyone listens.

For a moment, everyone cares.

The clock stops and Hermann hugs him. Becket survives and Hermann sidles back to his side. Touching still feels good, so Newton slings his arm around Hermann's neck. It's warm. Hermann smiles.

On their way down to the lab, Hermann's hand is resting on the back of his neck. Newton likes it there. It's good, it's grounding. He doesn't like not touching Hermann now. It makes his head buzz like static. He worries about going home. Going to bed. He doesn't want to be alone.

Hermann's nails dig into his nape, and Newton makes a noise.

Suddenly, the wall is against his back. His head hurts, he must've slammed it. Hermann is right in his face, he's angry, and Newton knows why before he even starts speaking.

"Ten years Newton, how could you not tell me? Ten bloody years and you never even - I had no idea and you just let me -"

Newton's not sure he's ever seen him too angry to speak. "I'm sorry," he says, because what else can he say. It's his fault, the whole thing is his fault, and now Hermann's too furious to think. He doesn't know what else to do, so he apologizes. It's his fault. He's sorry.

"Shut up, you absolute -" Hermann takes a breath. He looks so tired. He feels tired. Newton waits. "I had no idea," he finally says. He sounds drained.

Newton shrugs. "You weren't supposed to."

"You let me just - insult them."

Newton wonders what Hermann even expects him to have said, but before he can ask, Hermann answers him.

"Anything! Why didn't you ever tell me?"

We weren't friends, Newton doesn't want to say, but the thought's enough for now, and Hermann goes from looking tired to looking utterly exhausted in a matter of seconds. The static's back. They're not touching. Hermann's dropped his hand to his side.

They have to keep touching, so Newton grabs his arm.

He doesn't say it, but Newton hears it echoing in Hermann's head like a broken record. I'm sorry. I'm sorry I'm so sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry. "I didn't mean it," he finally says. "I never...they're not..."

Newton knows it all anyway. He doesn't know what to say because he doesn't want to lie, but he doesn't hate them. He thinks they're crass in subject matter but that was all. He thinks they're brilliant and bright and they make him who he is. He liked that Newton would always show them his new ones. He thought that made them friends.

Friends that never stopped fighting, but friends nonetheless.

Hermann's never had friends. He's had colleagues and family members but no friends. Just Newton, he's always had Newton. Hermann lets Newton call him by his first name. No one else, just Newton. Newton's noticed him and talks to him and cares. They fight and they need their separate sides but Hermann's never had anyone who's not related to him ever wanted to be on first name basis.

Newton can't even separate what he'd learned in the Drift from what he's hearing now anymore. It doesn't matter. He wants to be friends. He's always wanted to be friends. He loves Hermann and he wants to keep touching him because everything's easier if they're just touching.

Newton isn't entirely sure which one of them surges forward, but suddenly they're kissing. He's still in Hermann's head and he can't tell which one of them is surprised and which one of them is relieved, but then they're both relieved, so it doesn't matter anymore. They're both relieved and Hermann has Newton's hair in his hands and the Drift has made everything so different.

Everything's so much and Hermann knows exactly what he's doing and how is that? Hermann shouldn't have a clue what he's doing, but maybe he just knows from Newton. He feels Hermann's grip tug hard at his hair and Hermann pulls away to hiss, "You cocky little bastard, I know what I'm doing because I have done this before."

Newton laughs, but Hermann swallows it, bites his lip and Newton groans.

There's hands on his shirt and then hands on his chest and Newton feels dizzy. He can't tell if Hermann is saying anything or if he can just hear it. He doesn't think Hermann's talking because they're still kissing, but he still hears it anyway. Just a constant litany of want you please be happy you're so beautiful just please be happy I want to make you happy.

It's so much. It's never been like this, he still feels Hermann's tongue in his mouth when teeth are sinking into his neck. He can feel what Hermann's thinking - what he wants to do, what he's just done, what he's doing now. It feels like three sets of hands are on him at once and it's so much he grabs on to Hermann to stay steady.

One of Hermann's hands fly out to slam against the wall and support them both. Newton looks down. He's dropped his cane in order to place a hand on Newton's side. His shirt is undone and Hermann's hand is splayed out pale and white over all his colours and patterns. Hermann's thumb moves, drawing circles over his bright blue and grey ribs.

Newton can't tell what Hermann's thinking as he follows Newton's eyes, which suddenly causes him to panic. He can't lose it now, he had it and he wants it, he can't lose it, not now. He has to come back he needs him. He grabs Hermann's stupid sweater and tugs him back into the kiss. Come back come back come back.

He feels him again, sudden and clear, and breathes a sigh of relief into Hermann's mouth. He understands now why the Kaidonovskys would disappear after a battle, after Drifting. It wasn't victory sex - at least not entirely - it was this. This lingering connection that made everything so bright and strong and intense and he needs more of it he needs all of it. Please, Hermann, please.

Hermann nods, one hand one hand loosely over Newton's throat as he rummages in his pockets for his key. He goes to open the door but his key isn't fitting. "What - why isn't -?" Newton hears a chuckle and looks up. Hermann freezes.

"Probably because that's my room," Tendo's voice says evenly. He's only just walking up, and he's smiling. Newton can't decide if he's embarrassed or not. "I thought you two left the party early but looks like you just wanted to have one of your own, huh?"

Hermann turns red. Newton grabs his hand and tugs him. Hermann's room is right next door and he misses him already he can't feel him just like this they need to touch more they need to touch now.

"Secret's safe with me, boys," Tendo says, unlocking his door.

"It's not a secret," they say in unison. Hermann sounds affronted.

Tendo looks up and grins at them. "Never seen your chest before, dude," Tendo says, nodding at Newton, "It's pretty sweet." Newton smiles. Hermann scowls, and Newton feels him resist the urge to step in front of him, jealous. Tendo chuckles again before disappearing into his room.

They hurry to the next room, practically falling against the door as Hermann tries to kiss Newton and open it at the same time. They shove the door open and stumble inside, Hermann leading Newton backwards toward his bed.

Newton flails out of his shirt and tie before tugging Hermann's sweater and shirt over his head. Without thinking Newton throws himself forward, latching onto Hermann in a close full-body hug, skin to skin.

"God, Newton -" Hermann shouts, exasperated, grabbing on onto his nightstand for extra balance.

But then he feels it, Newton knows he does, because he's in his head and because he feels him gasp "God, Newton," and it's not exasperated at all anymore. It's absolutely reverent and he stumbles, crashing onto the bed. Newton falls with him, onto his lap, careful of his leg. Hermann sighs into his neck and wraps his arms around Newton's back.

Newton tries to shimmy out of his jeans while still in Hermann's lap, but it's not working. He gets up, frustrated. Static too much static he isn't touching Hermann at all to get these off why did he even wear pants in the first place.

He tries not to think about what it will be like when it wears off. Is it going to hurt this much not to hear him? He doesn't want to think about it, he doesn't. Maybe it won't wear off. Maybe it'll be like this forever and they can always touch and everything will be okay because he'll just always touch Hermann and everything will be fine.

Maybe they can drift again. And again, and again.

Hermann, unbuttoning his own pants, stops to smile at Newton's boxers. They have Trespasser on them and he gets the joke. Newton flusters and nearly trips, finally kicks out of his jeans. Why does he wear them so tight? He hears Hermann make a noise and looks up.

"Your - your legs too, I didn't...know." Hermann reaches over and slips a finger into Newton's boxers. He pulls the elastic back and peeks. Newton giggles when Hermann snaps it back. "Just checking," he says.

Hermann hasn't taken his pants off and even without being in his head Newton knows why. He doesn't say anything because a minute ago he didn't have to. It takes him a moment to realize the link's still broken, so he leans forward and kisses Hermann.

Hermann lets Newton take his pants off him instead.

The scar is gnarled and gruesome and Newton kisses it. Hermann pulls him up into his lap.

"Is this okay?" Newton asks, aloud, nervous.

"Perfect," Hermann says, sitting up, biting into Newton's shoulder.

Hermann's hands move like they need to be everywhere at once and Newton presses into him. Their thoughts are starting to run together again. Newton hears mine mine mine but he can't tell who's thinking it. Hears please don't leave and knows it must be him, because Hermann must know by now that he won't. But maybe it isn't. Maybe he's not sure, so he kisses him again, buries his hands in his ridiculous hair. I won't.

He claws at Hermann's chest, pushes him backward until his back slams against the bed.

Hermann pulls away to wrestle with the drawer of the nightstand but Newton keens, curling into Hermann's side as much as he can. It almost feels like enough, just like this, but he's curious. He doesn't need more but he wants more. He wants everything and all of it and Hermann's heart is pounding and it feels like it's in his own chest.

Hermann's nervous and Newton doesn't understand why. "I'll be careful," he says out loud as he digs his wallet out of the pants on the floor and finds the condom he's had there for a while.

Not too much of a while. Should be good.

Hermann looks frustrated. He grabs Newton's wrist and tugs down, kissing him hard on the mouth before turning to his arm, starting at the wrist and kissing upward until he can no longer reach. "What're you...?" Talking out loud feels too noisy when they're like this. Newton falls silent. He almost laughs when he realizes. It's not Hermann worrying.

Please stop worrying, please just let me have you. You don't have to worry. I want you, just like this, please. His hands are on Newton's face, pulling him into another kiss, again and again until Newton feels dizzy. They're beautiful and so are you and I'm not going anywhere.

Newton nods, breathless. It's armor. It's invincible. He shouldn't be scared, why is he scared? He wants this.

"I'll be careful," Hermann echoes, and Newton laughs, a dazed little huff against Hermann's mouth as he leans up to kiss him again.

It's different. The Drift makes it so different. Hermann slides a finger inside him but it already feels like too much, not enough, just enough. Hermann's kissing him - or maybe he just wants to. He feels a tongue run up his chest and can't tell if it's actually happening or if Hermann just plans on it. Another finger - he thinks he might be making noises or maybe he's just begging in his head.

Either way, Hermann ignores him. Goes slow, goes careful. By the time he adds a third Newton can't stop shaking. Hermann's other hand is on his chest, holding him still while he traces the lines on his skin. Newton feels him pass over scars, his thoughts scrambling over each other. I'm so sorry. I wish you had told me. I want you just as you are. Please be happy.

He finally pulls his hand away and lines them up, gently sliding into Newton.

Suddenly, Newton can't breathe. It's so much and everything is on fire. It's like the static, but at the same time completely different. Good. Warm. He moves - or maybe Hermann does - and it gets louder, fuller, better. Newton can hardly move, but he feels Hermann moving. Lips and tongue tracing over his tattoos, his scars. Fingers digging into his ribs.

He leans down and pulls Hermann into a kiss, shaking and needy and it's so much he can hardly feel it. Nails are scratching down his legs, into his back, over his chest. He hears their voices but isn't sure if they're speaking or not. There's too many things to try and focus on at once. Everything is vibrating and bright and God Hermann likes to use his teeth.

There's a hand in his hair and it tugs him down. Hermann's kissing him and holding him still and his head is spinning. When Hermann comes Newton is still in his head. It sends him reeling and then they're both coming down, panting and exhausted.

Hermann pulls out of him but keeps his hold on Newton so that he can't move away. He leans up against the wall and holds him there in his lap while they catch their breath.

"How's your - how's your leg?" Newton asks as soon as he can form the words, running his fingers over the scar.

"It's fine, it's fine." Hermann brushes his hand away and kisses him, wrapping his arms around his neck.

It's not fine. Newton feels it, twinging and cramping and he should sit up and get off of him. But Hermann isn't thinking about his leg. Please just stay like this please don't move I need this you need this please stay please.

Newton nods. "Okay."

He lets Hermann trace the lines of his tattoos again, idly. He's practically falling asleep with Newton on his lap. When Newton tries to re-position them Hermann makes a grumpy noise of protest and holds him still. Newton gives up trying to move and takes to watching him, instead.

Hermann looks entirely absorbed, almost as if he's forgotten the lines and patterns belong on a person, like he's focused instead on the map of a labyrinth's escape. He's so fixated that Newton is starting to feel anxious. "We can always get you one of your own, you know," he says jokingly, trying to break the tension.

Hermann looks up, blank-faced, but as he looks back to Newton's chest, he's smiling. Newton almost doesn't notice it, content and sleepy and barely there, but he's smiling. "You have quite enough for both of us, love."

Newton feels his neck turn red.

Hermann doesn't seem to realize he's said anything out of the ordinary. Either that or he doesn't care that he has.

When Newton finally does fall asleep, he's curled tight in Hermann's arms, and he can feel Hermann still sleepily tracing over the lines in his back until he drifts off.

They're beautiful and so are you.