“I’m afraid that’s not really what I’m looking for.”
Hermann’s stomach sinks to somewhere around his knees. He stares at the ground, bites his lips and- gott no, he won’t cry. He might have ruined this, but he won’t make it worse.
“But good job,” Hermann blinks, dares to look up. Lars is probably being sarcastic, or baiting him into thinking he meant it, but-
But he wants to believe, so badly.
Lars is smiling, not sarcastic, not cruel. It’s gentle and sweet. “I’m so pleased you’re taking initiative and looking into things,” he continues, patting Hermann’s shoulder. “I should have explained better. The one’s we’re looking into are actually aliens, where as these are-” he taps the Shoggoth, “biological weapons, true, but every bit the native as you and I.”
“Mi-go?” The large, scaly woman looks sceptically at Lars.
Lars nods. “We might visit the Shoggoths though,” he continues, “So I’m glad you’re exploring more about our world.”
Hermann blinks, blinks again. Again and again and the tears are still coming and they won’t stop and he can feel his breath catch in his throat. he turns, about to run-
The scaled woman rests a heavy hand on his shoulder, keeping him in place. She looks at Lars. He looks helplessly back at her. She nods towards Hermann meaningfully.
“Hermann?” Lars says tentatively.
Hermann buries his face in his hands, he doesn’t want to let him see.
“You can-” he takes a step closer, “You don’t have to-” then he gives up, finally comes close, and pulls Hermann into his arms.
He doesn’t want the woman or Newt to see, but if the tears were irrepressible before, they are now inexhaustible. He buries his face in Lars’ jacket and howls.
Tvr’Kele looks at Monica, he holds Hermann to his side with on hand, strokes his hair with his other hand. She smiles, and nods.
He’s doing it right. The sheer relief washes over him. He can do this.
“Is he-” Monica’s boy hovers by her, confused.
“He’ll be fine. They’ll be staying for dinner.” She gives him a meaningful look.
As though she needed to. Innsmouth seafood? It’s worth the journey just for that.