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Based on a True Story

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Despite being one of the Heroes of ’25 and aspiring to be some rock star scientist, Newt knows that he isn’t that popular. Yeah, he and Hermann have been in some TV interviews and they’ve been a cover of some magazines but they are as popular as the Rangers back then. Saved the world or not, they’re still scientists and seen in a certain type of way.

So, he just can’t quite wrap his head around the attention he and Hermann have been receiving ever since the movie premiere. He understands how people can…obsess over celebrities’ love lives—he once was a total Bran-Gelina fan, who wasn’t? But, those are celebrities, beautiful people falling for beautiful people and riding off to sunsets somewhere in Bali.

While he and Hermann are certified hotties—at least in his mind, they do not possess the standard beauty enough to garner this much attention.

Okay, so maybe he read a couple of fan fiction—there have always been people who’d root for them. Fan-arts—okay, cool…he can get behind that but he doesn’t have a tattoo on his ass cheeks and he doesn’t think that Hermann would ever tattoo Newt’s initials anywhere in his body. Newt knows and understands nerds rooting for nerds and right now—until the end of time, he and Hermann are legendary nerds and thus will be looked up upon by younger nerds.

What he’s having trouble with is the general public’s interest in knowing everything about his and Hermann’s relationship. It’s not like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s—he thinks that goes without saying. It isn’t as exciting nor as romantic as people are making it out to be.

No, he and Hermann did not cling to each other during the last years of the war—crying on each other’s shoulders. No, there wasn’t some grand gesture—nor lab sex, because as much as Hermann complains about Newt, not following protocol he actually follows protocol. But, yes, there has been a lot of pining—God, there’s been mutual pining. And, it’s more of an Enemies to tentative Friends to Lovers, rather than just Friends to Lovers. Newt pursed his lips to the side, wondering if he can tweet that without angering Hermann. That’s not a public display of affection, is it?

Newt thought that after the movie was declared not a complete bust, people will move on from their fascination with his and Hermann’s relationship. He was wrong. It was a good few months when another studio contacted them asking if they can make a movie about their relationship.

He smiled indulgently at them, knowing that Hermann wouldn’t let them. Newt knows that Hermann adores him but Hermann likes to adore him inside the privacy of their home. And while Hermann had gotten used to the media attention, he still has a firm stance on keeping their private life—well, private. The world may know everything they did during the war for the war but the world must keep on guessing what pet names they use on each other.

So, Newt was justifiably surprised when Hermann told the studio that they will think about it. He and Hermann sat down together and talked it through. Well, more like Hermann listing off the things he wants to be shown while Newt listens to him. Then, Hermann raised an eyebrow at him—waiting for him to add something.

“You want people to know about us?” Newt couldn’t help himself.

Hermann sighed, heavy and loaded. “I never intended to keep us a secret.” The way he said it—it sounded wrong in Newt’s ears. So, maybe he didn’t this his question through.

“No, I mean.” He paused, being careful with his words. “We were never a secret but I understand that you’re not the kind of guy who would announce to the world that you’re in love.” He smiled at that. “I’m kind of the one who does that.”

“No, you announced that we’re married—not in love.”

Newt rolled his eyes in good nature. “Semantics, I wouldn’t have married you if I wasn’t in love with you.”

“It goes vice versa,” Hermann said with a straight face.

“So, you love me and I love you—why the movie?”

Hermann stared at him, brown eyes softening around the edges. “Perhaps it’s time to announce to the world we’re in love.”

Newt let out a sigh—a dreamy one. “If anyone asks, I will tell them about this.”

They called back the studio and told them that—yes, they may make a movie about the two of them but they have to be accurate in portraying his and Hermann’s relationship. The studio doesn’t have any qualms about that, they only ask for Newt and Hermann to be honest and be patient if the questions regarding their relationship get too invasive. Newt doesn’t mind, he’s pretty much an open book and Hermann seemed to have readied himself for it.

The interview took a couple of days—longer than Newt ever expected. Retelling their story brought in a new perspective towards their relationship. The studio asked if they could interview their families, Newt let them have a go at his Dad and Uncle while Hermann invited his siblings. There were loud proclamations that they’ve always known that Hermann and Newt would end up together—especially from Hermann’s sister, who doesn’t have the signature Gottlieb tact.

Once the writing process was done, the studio asked them if they wanted to be part of the rest of the production. As much as Newt likes learning and experiencing new things, he declined. He said that he wants to be surprised by the final product. Hermann feels the same but he offered to keep the lines between them and the studio open, in case they have any more questions.

There was a day wherein they met with the actors who would be portraying them. Newt took note of how uncanny their similarities are—it almost felt like they are just the more gorgeous versions of him and Hermann. One was American and the other was British. Newt knew both actors from their work and Hermann doesn’t—not that Newt expected Hermann to know them. They were asked mundane questions which they answered with honesty. The scientists can tell that they are being observed closely but they try to act as naturally as possible to help the actors.

As expected the news of a movie about them circulated. A lot of people were excited about it—especially after the other movie. The studio was poked and prodded about it but they only released a statement that Newt and Hermann were quite open in sharing their story. When asked whether if it is going to be a blockbuster movie, the studio answered that they will keep true to the scientists’ relationship. The answer was evasive but Newt liked that better than promising people something they couldn’t deliver.

Newt let the news about the movie fall into the background of his life. He has a class to teach and a husband to keep on his toes. He will let other people speculate as much as they want.

The day of the premiere arrived. Newt’s happy that his friends are there to support the film. He noticed that Mako and Raleigh are smiling more genuinely than from the other movie premiere. Tendo attended with Allison this time. Herc looked more relaxed than ever. And, unlike the other movie premiere, Hermann’s siblings attended this one.

“Dr. Geiszler! Dr. Geiszler!” The loud shouting of his name got him turning. “How involved were you in the making of this film?”

“I wasn’t deeply involved in it,” Newt said with a bit of a sheepish smile. “I was just honest in telling them my part of the…whole…story, I guess.”

“What made you and Dr. Gottlieb decide to finally announce your marriage?” The question came from another interviewer.

“It wasn’t a secret.” Newt frowned a bit at that. “We weren’t keeping it from everyone—we just didn’t…we didn’t feel the need to—I don’t know, have it written in some magazine.” He shook his head lightly from side to side. “That’s not…that’s not how Hermann is.”

“But, would you have liked it to have been?”

“Not really.” He answered. “It’s…I just can’t quite understand this sudden fascination with mine and Hermann’s marriage.” He saw Hermann ahead of him, signaling at him to come. He gave his goodbye to the reporter and went with Hermann.

Inside the theater, Newt and Hermann are seated next to their families with their friends occupying the seats behind them. They don’t seem to mind not having the best seats as they meet Hermann’s siblings and greeted Newt’s Dad and Uncle. He doesn’t know if it’s just him, or if people seem to be more excited about this film than the other—but there’s quite a buzz all around.

The movie started with a kid trying to catch a frog with his Dad. It’s not hard to guess who that is and it made Newt smile—remembering how his interest in biology started. The camera panned and the scene changed—young Hermann being told to solve a complicated mathematical equation.

As some of the credits appear on the screen, the audience were given a montage of Newt’s and Hermann’s childhood. Newt getting tested and Hermann defending his theorem in front of older men before he even hit his teen years. Newt getting into MIT at fourteen and Hermann finishing an equation that occupies almost a whole wall of blackboards. Newt falls to the ground after a punch in the face and Hermann gets his diagnosis. Newt argues with a faculty teacher that he is part of the faculty and Hermann is being berated by someone off-screen.

The montage ended with Actor-Hermann talking with Actress Karla about joining the PPDC. They touched on how Hermann will only be constantly under the scrutiny of his father. But, Hermann was steadfast in his resolve, he knows he is needed.

It changed to Actor-Newt having a panic attack inside his bathroom, he sits inside the water-filled tub with his clothes on. Through the door, another Kaiju attack can be seen playing on the television. It showed Newt getting out of the tub and looking at himself in the bathroom mirror—uttering the word ‘fuck’ before the scene changed to Newt sitting still as he get his first tattoo.

The whole movie progressed showing Newt and Hermann doing their best to get people to hear out their ideas to no avail. It changed to the two of them furiously typing on their laptops and cutting to show the scientific magazine that published their work. Actor-Newt’s face filled the screen, his eyes wide as he read the magazine—then Googling how he can contact Dr. Hermann Gottlieb.

The next scene was Actor-Hermann staring at a letter with a confused expression. He opened the letter and read it. Newt liked the way the actor’s expression changed from confusion to wonder. Hermann’s reactions are more muted than that, most people wouldn’t notice when Hermann’s expressions shift on his face.

The following scenes were mostly Actor-Newt and Actor-Hermann seen writing and reading scientific articles and letters. There’s a voice-over reading out the parts of said articles and letters. Newt didn’t shy away in sharing his letters with those who interviewed them. He didn’t know that Hermann did the same. Though Newt was tempted to cringe at some of his earlier theories about the Kaiju, he thought that the studio made their exchange of letters more romantic than it is.

Their actor counterparts on the screen had finally decided to meet each other. This part had Newt slouching a bit on his seat. Hermann noticed his action and reach out to his hand, giving it a gentle squeeze. A simple reminder that it is merely a memory now and one that leads them to where they are and what they are today.

Newt can almost feel the people around the theater anticipating their meet-up. He knows that it won’t be as they expected. It wasn’t what he and Hermann expected—that’s for sure.

They watch as it all played out. Actor-Newt waiting inside the coffee shop, turning his head here and there in search for Actor-Hermann. Actor-Hermann walked in and immediately saw Actor-Newt, pausing for a moment before approaching him. Newt would admit that watching it from a distance, was a bit funny.

The first word he ever said in front of Hermann was a curse. Hermann, being how he is, took offense and there was no going back from that. They insulted each other, mentally and physically, and they were loud about it, too. Loud enough to be kicked off the said coffee shop.

Hermann was quick to get away from Newt—while everything was just starting to catch up on Newt. From the words, he said to how he acted. He stood on the sidewalk and watch Hermann’s back disappear in the throng of people, disheveling his hair and cursing himself for his inability to just filter his thoughts. Newt thought that the way it showed on the screen was far more dramatic than he thought it would be.

‘Is this how we’ll always be? Falling for people we can’t have?’ The Actor-Newt said in the through to his Actor-Dad. Newt remembers this conversation, he didn’t think that the writers would honestly use their words. He knew how much that hurt his Dad.

‘He’s one guy, Newt.’ His Actor-Dad said to him. ‘There are others out there.’

‘But, I don’t want the others.’ Actor-Newt’s voice was frustrated and sad in equal measures. ‘And, he’s not just a guy—he’s the guy, Dad. There’s…God took extra care in making Hermann fucking Gottlieb just to let others know perfection exists and peasants like us can’t have him.’

The scene changed to Actor-Hermann pacing back and forth, ranting about his meet-up with Actor-Newt. ‘And, he has the most—most garish tattoos. Who in their right mind would mark themselves permanently of the things that are trying to kill us? I thought his interest in those—those things are scientific, now I’m realizing that he’s a damn Kaiju worshipper. A—a bloody groupie! I should have seen it. The letters—“

‘Oh, Bruder.’ Actor-Karla cut him off. ‘Get the stick out of your ass and tell me how he was—how he really was.’

Actor-Hermann stopped pacing and turned to face Actor-Karla. His face was solemn—trying to cover up the sadness. ‘He has green eyes but with specks of hazel. A little imperfection—an illusion made for people to think he’s someone attainable.’ He paused. ‘I won’t mind spending an afternoon calculating the curve of his cheeks. But—but he found me wanting, at first sight, thus…I’ll content myself with letters. If he still wishes to stay in correspondence with me, that is.’

The next scene was Actor-Newt hunched over a pad of paper with a serious expression. He took in a fortifying inhale then started writing. Newt doesn’t quite remember what he had written in the letter—though he knows there was a lot of apologies in it, and a bit of begging to stay as friends. He smiled wistfully as Actor-Newt send the mail and Actor-Hermann doesn’t get it.

It is shown that years had passed. The two of them working for PPDC but not meeting. They were shown as exhausted and solemn scientists that are fighting what seemed to be a losing battle. The way they reacted to receiving the news that they are getting their funds cut in half was shown—both of them and their respective teams not creating a fuss in sharing a laboratory with others until they were face to face.

Watching their actor counterparts yell at each other made Newt feel nostalgic. It was probably inappropriate considering things—Newt wouldn’t trade getting Hermann to blush because of lust rather than anger. And, it’s not like they don’t fight anymore—only this time, it’s more like foreplay than anything else.

It’s at the point wherein there are only two of them in the laboratory. Actor-Newt pulled a brandy out of his lower cabinet, crossing the line on the floor, and asking Hermann if he has a cup. Actor-Hermann looked at Actor-Newt for a moment before dumping the rest of his cold tea in the bin and offering it to Actor-Newt.

‘One would think that a German man would know when a bloody wall won’t be a sufficient solution to the problem.’ Actor-Hermann haughtily said.

Actor-Newt let out a dark chuckle. ‘I knew you had a humor in you.’ Then, he turned serious. ‘There’s only so many calculations you can throw their way to try and make them listen. We gave them the data, if they decide not to listen to it, it’s on them.’

‘We both know that it is not as clear as it seems.’

After that scene, it’s shown how their insults started to sound more like hair-pulling, how their fights seemed more like bickering, and how they’re growing closer with each other.

Still, the world then remains to be in the brink of destruction, and matters are meant to escalate and come to a head. The Shatterdomes all over the Pacific were shut down and they were all called to be transferred to one site they get to keep. The scene how he met Raleigh from the other movie was corrected and it was Actor-Hermann, Actor-Newt, Actor-Herc, and Actor-Pentecost inside the laboratory talking plans and theories.

‘Numbers do not lie.’ Actor-Hermann said and Newt can already tell that this part—well, this part will be quoted for the rest of humanity’s existence. ‘Politics and poetry, promises, these are lies. Numbers are as close as we get to the handwriting of God.’

“For a man who doesn’t believe in poetry,” Newt murmured next to Hermann. “You’re a poetic one.”

“A character flaw,” Hermann murmurs back.

“Another sign of perfection.” Newt went back to focusing on the movie.

Their actor counterparts continued discussing Newt’s plan on Drifting with the Kaiju—with Hermann voicing out how dangerous it is. It played out the way it did. ‘It’s not going to work.’ Actor-Hermann tells Actor-Newt.

‘It is going to work, Hermann.’ Actor-Newt said. ‘And, I’ll tell you something else. Fortune favors the brave, dude.’ Okay, Newt isn’t as creative as Hermann is when it comes to making up quotes on the spot.

‘You’d kill yourself.’ Actor-Hermann exited the screen.

The next scene was Actor-Newt pandering for a minute before getting that crazed look in his eyes and taking action. Actor-Newt looked less disheveled than Newt felt when he was making a neural bridge using garbage. ‘Kaiju-Human Drift experiment take one.’ Actor-Newt speaks to a recorder. ‘The—uh, the brain segment is the frontal lobe…uhm, chances are the segment’s far too damaged to Drift with.’ He let out a sigh after saying that part so Newt can guess that the actor has some idea what that meant for Newt right that moment. ‘Unscientific aside, Hermann, if you’re listening to this—' the collective audience gasped and Newt feels bad. ‘—well, I’m either alive and I’ve proven what I’ve done just works. In which case, ha-ha, I won. Or, I’m dead and I’d like you to know that it’s all your fault. It really is. You know, you drove me to this. In which case, ha, I also won. Sort of.’ He fortified himself. ‘I’m going in in three…two…one.’

The scene was cut to Actor-Hermann walking into their laboratory and seeing Actor-Newt’s seizing body. ‘Newton, Newton!’ He all but threw his cane to get on his knees. ‘What have you done?’ Actor-Hermann shook as he took off the cap from Actor-Newt’s head and try to force him to gain consciousness. Once Actor-Newt has enough sense to sit up and wipe his own bloodied nose, Actor-Hermann fetched Actor-Pentecost.

Actor-Newt had enough of Newt’s shaken smugness as he tell Actor-Pentecost ‘I told you it would work.’ The smugness was taken over by terror of discovery. ‘—and, they will finish the job. And, then the new tenants will take possession. See, the reason that I found the identical DNA in the two separate Kaiju organs is because they are grown.’

‘Newton, I need you to do it again.’ Actor-Pentecost said. ‘I need more information.’

‘I can’t do it again.’ Actor-Newt sounded tired and scared. But, then intrigue comes to the forefront of his mind. ‘I mean, not unless you have a fresh Kaiju brain lying around. Do you?’

Now, Newt doesn’t know how the studio managed to get the green light from PPDC to let people know that Newt was ordered to get a Kaiju brain from the black market. He already expected that Hannibal Chau’s name wasn’t even mentioned. Though, he wasn’t all that surprised when there’s some…inaccuracies in this part.

‘You sent him to his death.’ Actor-Hermann said to Actor-Pentecost.

Newt leaned to Hermann. “Is this…did this happen?”

“Yes.”

‘It’s his or the world.’ Actor-Pentecost said to Actor-Hermann solemnly.

‘He wouldn’t have a chance to deliver whatever information he could gain from Drifting with a damn Kaiju.’ Actor-Hermann’s voice was slowly rising in volume. ‘The neural load…he’d be brain dead in the streets of Bone Slums next to a Kaiju carcass surrounded by thugs.’ This part was hissed.

Whatever Actor-Pentecost’s reply was, it didn’t take precedence over a Kaiju attack. Instead of showing the fight between Jaeger and Kaiju, like in the other film, they showed Actor-Newt being almost eaten by Otachi and Otachi’s baby. A scene was shown wherein Actor-Pentecost ordered Actor-Hermann to go to where Actor-Newt is just as another alert about a Kaiju was called out.

‘There are two Kaiju signatures in the Breach—not three like I predicted.’ Actor-Hermann yells at Actor-Newton standing on top of a fake Kaiju.

Actor-Newt got down from the fake Kaiju. ‘Hermann, I haven’t exactly had a very good day, okay? I got about five minutes—‘

‘—should be three Kaijus—‘

‘—before brain death occurs here! I don’t wanna spend it talking about your theories.’

‘There should be thee Kaijus coming through, not two!’

‘There should be three and there’s two?’ Actor-Newt said in passing. ‘I’m sorry, it hurts to be wrong.’

‘I am not wrong.’ Actor-Hermann insists. Newt had to stop and think if this is how they really fight. ‘But, there is something here we don’t understand.’

‘Hopefully, we can argue about any mistakes you made in your predictive model in the future!’ Actor-Newt said pointedly. ‘But, in the meantime, the neural interface is way off the charts! If you want to help, help with that.’

‘Newton, I am not wrong.’ Actor-Hermann turned to the computer and started typing fast. Newt can just tell that it’s all random letters and numbers. ‘There is only one way to make sure and that is to do this together.’ Actor-Newt, with his back faced against Actor-Hermann, paused before turning to Actor-Hermann. ‘That’s what the Jaeger pilots do, share the neural load.’

Actor-Newt licked his lips wet, looking at Actor-Hermann all hopeful. ‘You serious? You would do that for me? Or—or, you would do that with me?’ The tone is just a touch soft at the end.

Newt is curious about what people will say about how they Drifted together.

Actor-Hermann managed to mimic Hermann’s self-deprecating smile that moment. ‘Well, with worldwide destruction a certain alternative, do I really have a choice?’

Whatever they saw in the Drift, wasn’t shown to the audience. Newt was glad about that. For all the happy memories they had shared, there were also sad ones that he’d like to just keep between the two of them. They may be sharing their love story with the public but that doesn’t mean they are sharing everything else.

There was a brief exchange shown on the screen after their Drift. Newt knows people are wondering now when will they get together. The end of the movie is so close already and they are still focused on the end of the world. He’d like to tell people that romance doesn’t take precedence over the safety of the world.

Newt watched as the scene in the LOCCENT play out differently from the other movie. Their actor counterpart moved more fluidly with each other than they did before the Drift—even going so far as finishing each other’s sentences, which isn’t a far cry from the Ghost Drift effect but a little bit on the nose. It got him wondering for a moment how they did that. He doubts that the actors have ever experienced Drifting with anybody before to have an idea how to…act around a Drift partner.

The ending of the movie wasn’t the big celebration. They weren’t there for the big celebration. They sequestered themselves in Hermann’s room, too tired and sore to celebrate.

Newt watched on the screen as Actor-Newt pull at Actor-Hermann’s clothing, Actor-Hermann giving away indignant squawking noises. It almost sounded the same as the noises Hermann made back then. ‘Newton! We are not—‘ Actor-Hermann said as Actor-Newt started taking off his clothes.

‘Chill, you nerd.’ Actor-Newt said with a laugh. ‘We’re just going to pass out. I’m just too exhausted to walk to my room.’

‘You smell horrible.’

‘Well, you sure ain’t smelling like roses.’

On the screen, their actor counterparts are shown having to make room for each other in the bed. Actor-Newt taking extra care because of Actor-Hermann’s leg, Newt wondered if they notice him adjusting some of his movement for Hermann. They must have to have accurately done it. Newt doesn’t think too much of his actions that would accommodate Hermann because—that’s just how it’s always been ever since they shared a lab. Seeing it being done on the big screen, Newt doesn’t know exactly what to think. He kind of feels proud of himself, was that a weird thing to think or feel? Probably.

‘You wrote me a letter.’ Actor-Hermann said as they’ve finally settled on the bed.

‘You didn’t get it.’ Actor-Newt stated.

They were quiet for a moment.

‘Hey, Hermann?’

‘Hmm?’

‘Want to spend the rest of our lives together?’

‘There is nothing I would want more.’

The screen slowly faded to black. As the credits roll, people inside the theater got up to their feet and started clapping. He got up to his feet, too, he likes the movie. That was probably a little bit narcissistic to say but he does.