even rockstars get stage-fright

Rating: T
Pairing: Newton Geiszler/Hermann Gottlieb
"suffering from pre-interview nerves, Newt gives Hermann a call"

"Sir? Can I help you?"

Newt, sitting cross-legged on the chair looks up. "No, I'm just waiting for Herc to get out," he replies. "I have a ten o'clock with Valerie."

The man's lips tighten slightly, and he says, "Let me just go check. I'll be right back."

Newt rolls his eyes. Honestly, what is it about him that makes people assume that he's not telling the truth? Well—okay, yeah, he's scruffy, and his clothes are all rumpled, and maybe Hermann had a point about dressing up for interviews, but whatever. He doesn't deserve the scrutiny.

The man—who Newt's decided looks like a Luke—comes back a few moments later; looking slightly apologetic. "Doctor Geiszler," he says, "I'm sorry for that, we've just had a lot of people in today."

Newt waves him off. "It's fine, dude. You had Stacker and the Kaidanovskys in, so I guess it's sort of hard to remember the scientist."

Luke's expression remains neutral. "I'll let you know when you're up." With that, he returns to his office. Newt's eyes catch the name-plaque—Aaron Covell. Okay, so not Luke. In his defence, Aaron looks more like a Luke than an Aaron, but whatever.

He looks around the room again; searching for magazines he knows haven't appeared since the last time he looked, five minutes ago. Horrible business practice, in his opinion, to not have anything to do in a waiting-room. He bites back a yawn.

With nothing else to do, he pulls out his phone and calls Hermann.

"You've reached Doctor Gottlieb," drawls the familiar voice, "I am not available at this moment, please leave a message—"

"I can't believe you have your voicemail memorised," Newt cuts in, and smiles slightly at the sigh that elicits from the other. He can practically see Hermann's put-upon expression.

There's some shuffling—papers, maybe—before Hermann speaks again."What is it that's so important you had to call my personal phone at one in the morning? I could have been asleep—have you not a considerate bone in your body?"

"It's nine-thirty for me, and no, I hadn't considered it because I know full well you're still on the same sleep schedule as me," Newt says. "You only got in a few days ago, and you have worse jetlag than I do."

"It's the principal of the matter," Hermann grumbles. "Now what is it?"

"Did you know that people don't recognise me?" Newt asks; instead of answering the question. "I mean, I'm saving the world and people still think I'm some random dude."

"Helping," Hermann corrects. "And I don't recognise you half the time. It's the eyesore you call your sense of fashion."

"I resent that comment," Newt huffs, "my fashion sense is great. You just think anything that doesn't look like it's from the '50s or earlier is bad."

"Aren't you supposed to be in an interview?"

Newt, who's been hoping Hermann didn't remember that, winces slightly. "Not until ten," he says. "And that's not what I'm talking about, dude. I'm having a crisis over the fact that apparently I'm not memorable."

Hermann scoffs. "You're plenty memorable. You're also bored."

"Out of my mind," Newt admits. "They don't even have magazines in here, and I've been here for twenty minutes, and I have to wait another half hour before I can get grilled by Valerie."


"The woman doing my interview. She's in with Herc right now."

"You could always go out and come back later," Hermann points out. "Go get something to eat or something."

Before he knows it, the words are bursting out of his mouth. "But what if the bus gets caught in traffic on the way back and I miss it? What if—"

Hermann sighs deeply. "You're nervous," he says.

"Or maybe I just want someone to complain to about being under-appreciated," he retorts. "I mean, I'm out here dealing with hazardous specimens to try and help humanity, and people can't even remember me?"

"Oh, now he admits they're hazardous," Hermann grumbles under his breath. "For the last time, Newton, you're thirty years old, act like it. Why don't you call your actual father if you're so nervous?"

The exasperation is leaking through strongly. Time to change tactics. "He doesn't get me like you do, baby," Newt coos, which is a lie. Newton Geiszler is a lot of things, and one of them is his father's son. He gets him more than anyone, Newt thinks lovingly. But he's also probably actually asleep, and anyway, there's something about complaining to Hermann that's more calming.

"Don't call me baby," Hermann snaps; like he always does; and Newt finds his lips quirking up. Then, more gently: "Do you know what she'll be asking you? Then maybe you can prepare bit—that might help calm your anxiety."

"Probably something about the contributions I've made. Definitely a question about the Coastal Wall program."

He can practically see Hermann's grimace. "Right," he says. "I'd forgotten about that."

That's a lie, and they both know it. There's a reason Stacker picked Newt to be the K-Sci person interviewed, when he usually has Hermann do it. "I'll make sure she knows how stupid your dad is," Newt promises. "I mean, she's probably a smart woman, I don't think that she'll look at the Wall and go oh yeah, that's a good idea."

That manages to get a slight laugh out of Hermann. "One would hope." He suddenly lets out a yawn.

"You should probably go to sleep," Newt says; feeling suddenly guilty, because, despite his earlier words, it is pretty late for Hermann.

"I'm fine," Hermann protests," but he yawns again. Newt gives a quiet huff.

"I'll be fine," he says, "you made sure I'm not going to freak out or anything, so you can go to sleep now."

"You're the one who called me, not the other way around," Hermann points out. "But fine. Maybe you have a point. Just this once."

"Just this once," Newt teases.

"Shut up. And…good luck with your interview, Newton."

Newt smiles; achingly wide. "Thanks," he says. "Sweet dreams, Herms."