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"Watching You Run"

Title: Watching You Run
Pairing: Newton/Hermann
Rating: PG-13

It's too much too suddenly, and Hermann wonders if it's this way for everyone when they drift, or if this is just what drifting with Newton Geiszler is like. He feels too many emotions. Excitement, overwhelming interest, anxiety and fear - but he's taken surprise by the rage and the near crippling self-hatred. I just need to look different, more tattoos more colour - I'm better if I just look different. Don't call me that name I don't want his name I don't want to be him please just call me Newt.

Hermann feels his lungs tightening in his chest. His own thoughts are blending but he can't hear them over Newton's. Six doctorates, mother loves me, getting a job at the PPDC, meeting Hermann, teasing Hermann, Hermann picking me up off the floor after the first drift, Hermann calling me an idiot. Hermann's head is spinning, he feels like he needs to hold on to something.

First girlfriend leaves me at sixteen. First boyfriend leaves me at twenty-one. I loved them and they left me. I loved all of them and they all left me. I love too much and no one's ever going to love me back enough. No one wants me, no one can stand me. At least I'm smart. I'll be useful and then they'll need me. It's not love but it's something. I can have this, they need me now. Pentecost needs me. Hermann needs me. They won't leave me. They can't.

Suddenly, everything stops.

Hermann doesn't understand the silence. It's deafening after all that roaring chatter. But then it's not quiet anymore. It's raining. He can hear windshield wipers. He's in a car - he shouldn't be in a car, why is he in a car?

Hermann opens his eyes. Newton's next to him, unblinking, barely breathing, wearing his pons helmet. Hermann looks over to see who's driving the car and takes a moment to for him to understand that it's Newton. About a decade younger, but still Newton, and in the front seat beside him is someone who can only be his mother.

This isn't how it happens, Hermann thinks. Just now - it was completely different a moment ago. He goes rigid when he realizes what's wrong. "Newton," he says loudly, hearing it echo oddly in his own head, but Newton doesn't react as if he'd heard at all. "Newton, you're chasing the rabbit. Let go. You need to let go."

Hermann doesn't want to know what this memory is. He reaches over and grabs Newton's arm and tries to shake him, but he doesn't move. He hears Newton's voice, but it's the one in front of him rather than beside him. He sounds tired and frustrated.

"I don't know what you want from me," he's saying, "You say you're proud of me but all you ever do is worry."

"I just want you to be happy," his mother answers. Her voice is gentle and quiet.

Hermann screws his eyes shut.

"Newton! Newton this isn't happening now, you have to come back. Newton, look at me." He doesn't even twitch. Lights are whizzing by, and the conversation at the front of the car continues.

"I am happy. The meds are working fine, I'm fine. I'm doing everything I wanted and everything is fine."

"Are you taking your meds?"

YES I'm taking the damn meds. Every fucking day I take the damn meds. They're fine, I'm fine, stop worrying. Just please stop worrying."

The light turns green, but the car in the cross street doesn't stop. It's dark and raining and Newton doesn't realize they aren't slowing down. He hits the gas.

There's a screech of breaks, the echoing shatter of glass, and a sound like an explosion. Then there's nothing. No sound, no light.

Hermann feels Newton shaking in his hands. "Newton," he tries again, but he can't hear himself. He blinks, but he still can't see anything. He tries screaming Newton's name, but it's just silence.

Then suddenly, full force, everything's back.

Glass is everywhere, blood is everywhere, and Newton is crying.

The car is on its side, skidded halfway down the road. The other car is wrecked, but abandoned.

"Mom?" Newton sounds small, young and terrified. His arm is bleeding.

Hermann realizes for the first time that his arms are bare.

"Mom? Mom, are you okay?"

Newton's mother moves, the sound of cracking glass being the only sign of life for a moment. She can barely lift her head, but she manages, "Are you okay?"

"Jesus, mom, yeah, I'm fine, I'm fine. What about you?"

"You're bleeding," Newton's mother says instead of answering.

"Only - " Newton's voice cracks as he looks down at his shirt. "Mom, this is your blood."

Newton's mother doesn't say anything to that. Newton takes a shuddering breath. "Mom?"

Hermann doesn't know what else to do. He has to pull him out of this. Panicking, he turns his attention to the Newton still at his side and rips the pons helmet from his head, tearing is own off soon after.

"Newton!" Hermann catches him as he collapses, which proves to be a relatively stupid idea when Hermann's lack of balance simply sends them both to the ground. Pain bolts up his leg as Newton lands on it, but Hermann ignores it, shaking him.

His eyes have rolled back and his nose is bleeding again, and Hermann feels sick with deja vu. "Newton! NEWT, COME BACK! You have to come back, we have to warn them."

He doesn't even remember seeing the kaiju's memories, but still, they're there. In his head. Along with everything else. He has to remind himself that they're important. They're more important. The fate of the world depends on those memories. But he can't focus on any of that now.

Newton has to wake up, first.

He hears the helicopter, hears people shouting. Someone grabs Newton off of Hermann's lap while someone else helps Hermann to his feet. "Careful with him," Hermann is shouting over the chaos, stumbling after the man dragging Newton as fast as he can. His leg is killing him. He ignores it as he climbs hurriedly into the helicopter and shoves the other man out of the way.

"I've got him, don't touch him." He doesn't mean to sound so callously protective, but he still feels it, the emptiness of everyone leaving, and Hermann isn't going to. And he certainly isn't going to let Newton leave, either.

Newton has stopped shaking, which is either very good or very bad. "Newton," Hermann shouts over the roaring of the helicopter taking off, "Newt, can you hear me? Are you all right? You need to tell me you're all right."

Newton coughs, and Hermann feels a surge of relief so intense he falls forward with the force of it, leaning his forehead against Newton's as he he swallows and blinks. Hermann reaches up to clench a fist in Newton's hair, holding him still.


Hermann can't find the energy for words, so he just says, "Mm."

"You called me Newt."

Hermann lets out a breath that could almost be a laugh.

"Where -?" Hermann feels Newt go tense against him. "We've got to -"

"We're headed that way now," Hermann says, and Newton goes limp with relief again. Hermann feels his own body respond in kind. When they get off this helicopter it'll be nothing but fear and anxiety and a race against the time, but for now, Newton is all right and they're on their way to warn the Shatterdome and Newton is all right.

"Sorry I...kinda ruined everything," Newton says after a moment. He hasn't tried to pull away from Hermann yet, still has his head cradled in Hermann's hand with his forehead pressed against his.

Hermann shakes his head. He lets out another breathless nearly-laugh. He wants to tell him that even the best rangers have done it. He wants to tell him that he knows what it's like to feel isolated and alone, he knows what it's like to lose people he loves. He wants to tell him that he's never going anywhere.

Somehow, it comes out, "Don't ever do something that stupid again."

Newton's laugh sounds more like a bark than anything. "I make no promises."