.

.

They've washed out the hammocks, and as usual, Thomas's mind races with more and more questions.

"… How did Newt get to be second-in-command?" he asks, glancing up from his ever-busy hands. No wind blesses them, no scent of rain—only the smoldering, thickening heat of a brand new day simmering over the Glade.

He and Chuck fortunately retreat for shelter, volunteering to set up Homestead after laundry. The younger boy proceeds to make faces at Thomas, his upper lip curling up in momentary displeasure.

"You don't get to be anything—you're chosen. I thought you knew that."

Across the open field, two or three Track-Hoes are on their bare knees to the soil-bed, using fingers and handhold harrows to till, planting seeds. Thomas looks up from his flimsy knot-work, watching as Newt gestures over another Glader, as if instructing him, staring down and frowning at a palmful of dry, brown dirt.

"He doesn't say much about himself, does he? That you know about …" Thomas observes in a faraway voice, hands slowing, eyes peering into the distance. "Stays private … that kinda thing?"

Chuck shakes his head as a confirmation, his tight curls of hair dripping with sweat.

"I don't ask if I don't need to know, alright," he explains dully. Tugging roughly on the hammock's rope and finding it sturdy and in place. "Hey, instead of drooling—could you hand me the next one?"

.

.

Thomas's sudden, heartfelt laugh carries all the way to the Gardens.

"Newbie's been starin' at you again," Jack announces, up to his knuckles in the sour-smelling, ripe fertilizer. There's a teeth-crooked smile inching over his sunburned features, and it's definitely klunk-eating.

"Y'know… I can do the work and pay attention to my surroundings. Maybe you should bloody try it?" Newt snaps, hearing a muffled giggle behind him. He doesn't bother turning around to locate who it is and keeps his head down. Newt's brain is attempting to be on task, but… yeah, he's noticed Thomas's curiosity.

Newt's also been noticing the occasional leers, ever since the bonfire.

Alby took on the role most of the time debriefing the Greenies, introducing them, helping them settle in and learning the rules. It's just… he sort of liked this one. Thomas—the name returned to him after taking a powerful blow to his skull. However, the staggering relief had been highly contagious, everyone in the Glade celebrating him.

"I'd go for it if I were you."

"Lucky for me, you are yourself and not me," Newt mutters, patting his hands on his hips.

Jack gives him a long, probing look, smiling away like this is hilarious. "A couple shanks have been talkin' about him, I heard. Thinking about gettin' him acquainted," he goes on. Newt stares at the other Glader, eyes narrowing dubiously. "Zart says if he has it his way, he's gonna… tickle Greenbean's beanstalk, if you get what I'm sayin'."

"Tell Zart from me that he's a slinthead," Newt says tonelessly. He goes to his feet, mindful of his limp as the sounds of digging picks up and the low, amused murmurs die off. "And get back to work, will you?"

A mock-salute from smiling Jack.

Jesus bleedin' christ.

.

.

Thomas's fingers scrabble at one of the frayed ropes, messily knotting.

Oh man, he's really bad at this. It's only getting increasingly hotter out and his bladder screams to piss—but he needs to get this done, goddammit.

"Coming along?"

Stepping into the shade of the overhead-canopy, Newt approaches him, wearing a thin smirk. He's without his baggy, extra layer of clothes right now, the heavy machete pack-strap situated across Newt's chest and wrinkling his almond-brown top.

"Guess so," Thomas answers.

He's really forcing himself to not stare at Newt's exposed, muscled arms. It's not a lot of muscle, more sinewy than any Builders, but he wonders how strong Newt actually is.

(Could he even climb the Walls?)

"I think… I, uh. I don't think I know what I'm doing," Thomas says admittedly, eyes lowering.

Newt moves into his personal space, quickly signaling Thomas to back away from the hammock.

"You'll get better," Newt tells him, hurriedly fastening the slippery knot and experimentally tugging. Hearing the words from him brings a jolt of encouragement into Thomas's gut. "Not a bad few days for you, huh, Greenie?"

Thomas lets out a noisy, disbelieving snort.

"I woke up screaming and puking in a box. Now, my arms are falling asleep and I'm covered in dirt."

At this, Newt chuckles. "Sounds like an improvement, actually," he quips, peering over his shoulder. Newt's smirk softens into a deliberate grin.

Four hammocks-length away, Chuck ducks his head, turning himself in the opposite direction of them.

Thomas's eyes draw to the glisten of perspiration on Newt's upper lip. He inhales sharply as the other Glader faces him—almost within breathing room—Newt comfortably leans towards him, his forearm pressing up against the nearby pole.

"It may seem all like hard shuckin' work, but there are plenty of ways to wind down after the day's over."

A bit of something coy drifts beneath Newt's words.

"Such as…?" Thomas replies, finding his own coming out husky.

Newt's pleasantly-appearing grin never wavers. He reaches out and lightly squeezes on Thomas's right shoulder. "Come see me later if you're still interested," he offers. "We'll discuss it more then."

And just like that, Newt is gone, heading towards the Slaughterhouse.

"Such as?" Chuck parrots him in the background. He whistles aloud to nobody, eyebrows raised high.

Thomas's stomach clenches up in frustration, embarrassment boiling.

"What?" he barks out.

"Nothing, dude."

Chuck loops another hammock rope, staring down thoughtfully.

"So you guys are gonna go off and fuck, right?" he says candidly. No tremor in Chuck's voice from using the obscene word, and on traces of uncertainty either. In fact, Chuck dares to look offended by Thomas's gaping, shocked expression. "… What?"

"What the hell did you just say, Chuck?"

A noncommittal shrug from the younger boy. "It's not like it'll be a secret. News travels fast around here."

Thomas regains some composure and folds his arms, mouth scrunching up.

"You're telling me… you seriously think that's what Newt was talking about?" he asks in a hissing whisper.

"Uh, no—I know that's exactly what he's talking about," Chuck argues, not bothering to whisper. He finishes stringing up the little hammock, dropping into a sit and lifting his feet. "Why? Is that bad? I thought you liked Newt, dude."

With his arms still folded, Thomas frees up a hand, gesturing heedlessly.

"I like him, yeah. Yeah, of course. He's a good guy, but…"

But what?

But, Thomas can barely remember himself. He doesn't remember having a family, or a girlfriend, or a boyfriend. He has no way to clue into the person he had been. What if they never would have been attracted to Newt? Which, Thomas almost doubts. Something… it's buried deep, deep inside him, reassuring him.

That it's okay to want Newt. Even if it's a temporary feeling. Even if it wouldn't mean anything life-changing.

"I… I don't know," Thomas says, running a hand over his face. God, he still needs to piss.

When the lunch-horn finally sounds, he retreats for the toilets.

.

.

Nightfall beckons on, and the rain finally comes. It's lukewarm and misting when it hits Thomas's cheeks.

The torches are barely lit when he locates the fighting ring, as Newt waves goodbye to Winston and approaches Thomas, head held high.

"Everything alright?" Newt asks quietly, a mischievous gleam in his eye. "You look a little flushed."

For a moment, everything feels like it's moving underwater—Thomas feels the struggle to get nearer, like it's impossible slow-motion. And then, it's vanished. He's there, brushing the tips of their noses, touching his mouth against Newt's warm, moistened lips.

"So do you," Thomas says, eyes beginning to close.

A cheering, nonsensical hoot from another Glader—the one who must have noticed them first—registers.

It's now or never, and Thomas imagines he's made the right choice.

"… I don't, I don't know if I can do this," he says in utmost solemnness, witnessing the dreaminess of Newt's expression fade quickly. "But, I want to… I really, really want to, Newt. I just, I don't want to lead you on…"

"Well, you're doing a cracking job of it," Newt's voice throaty, hardened with sarcasm. "What do you need me to tell you then? You want an 'I love you' or a 'Let's be together forever' before we get started, because I'm not going to say lies to you, Tommy."

Thomas blinks. He's perplexed, amazed even.

Tommy?

"No, no, I don't want you lie to me—fuck." Thomas's head leans backwards. He groans in aggravation, scrubbing his dirtied hands over his forehead. "Can—can we start over? I feel like it was a shitty way to do this."

The harshness and the hurt in Newt's eyes brighten away as he laughs.

"S'alright, you're forgiven," Newt tells him, smiling, and god, Thomas has a vibrating itch to just kiss him again.

So he does, teeth clacking into Newt's bottom lip, and this time with Newt's body going slightly rigid.

"It's a yes, by the way… to…"

Go off and fuck, as Chuck put it so eloquently.

Newt looks him over, warily. "You sure?" he asks in lowness. At the visual of Thomas's firm nod, a satisfied, aggressive noise escapes Newt's throat, shooting heat and all the blood straight down to Thomas's cock.

"Head into the forest by the Deadheads. Don't worry about getting caught—I'll meet you there."

.

.

The green and browning foliage crunches under Thomas' boots.

Sunlight is disappearing quickly. He wonders if he should have asked for one of the torches, or stole one, but Thomas has the impression that discretion is the smartest element.

And, he trusts Newt. He has to.

Weirdly enough, Thomas manages to not stumble through the littering bones. He pointedly ignores the looming shadow-mass of the branchy, elaborate grave-marker of GEORGE.

From there, a couple minutes pass with him listening to the chirping of nighttime bugs, and the patter of raindrops on the forest leaves. Newt comes to him as a flaming, yellowish-orange light before clearing, his left hand hoisting up his torch.

"You doing alright?" Newt asks, lips twitching upwards.

He waits for a faint nod and stretches out his empty hand, hooking Thomas's fingers into his. Newt, without his pack-strap, leads them through the darkening trees and shrubbery. He's been leading everyone in his own way—methodically, rationally, bravely.

Thomas squints his eyes.

It's a hut. Decrepit, with branch-and-straw lining for a roof, but a makeshift, pull-open door that ties shut.

He enters it with the other boy looking for a safe placeholder for the torch, gulping in a deeper, steadying breath. It's an earthy, sun-heated odor in here. Musky blankets dangle haphazardly over an old, wood-legged cot.

That's all of what's inside… straw littering the muddy, flat floor, and one cot present.

How many Gladers know about this place?

Maybe they all do, Thomas considers. Even Chuck was aware of what kind of innuendos went on. Thomas clenches his jaw, dark brown eyes unfocused. How many… did Newt…?

"Alright, Tommy?" Newt repeats, emerging into Thomas's sight. A puff of hot air to Thomas's mouth. He grins, and it's boyishly sweet in its own way. Thomas's heart cannot stop thudding so loudly and painfully.

"Yeah," he says back, using his courage and fisting the end of Newt's shirt with both of his hands. "You too?"

The grin widens.

"Never better," comes as a murmur. He doesn't remove Thomas's hands.

They remain where they are, unstirred as roughened stone, until it's a whirlwind—Newt's open, panting mouth dragging towards his ear, Thomas's fingers grappling to wretch off his own top, their bodies rutting and pressing together, in, in. As if it's an unspeakably cruel thought to be torn away from each other now.

Newt's teeth reveal themselves, biting gently right underneath Thomas's jaw. A shudder overcomes him, with Thomas's exhale hitching in and out with a trembling moan.

"Mhm… you like being romanced, don't you, Greenie?" Newt whispers into his skin, gleefully.

Thomas clutches his hips as a response, jerking Newt backwards to the cot, letting blood-fierce instinct take him. He climbs over Newt, kissing him, sliding lips over Newt's bared chest and his neck. There's a circular birthmark right below his ribcage, Thomas's thumb mapping devotedly over it.

He feels wound-up, head light and spinny. His cock achingly heavy between his legs, but trapped in his god-damned jeans. Before he summons the thought, Newt beats him to it, unzipping Thomas's jeans and yanking them down.

Newt's eyes are dark, gazing up at him, and then to the reddened cockhead. His eyes darker than he remembers ever seeing, even in the twilight.

"Off, all of it comes off," Newt says, rumbling, like it's a command—oh, oh hell yes, Thomas is more than happy to obey. They separate long enough to strip down, tossing aside underwear and the rest of their garments.

This time, Thomas finds himself urged to lay back on his elbows, Newt's thighs spreading over him.

Instead of tensing, he sinks into the lumpy cot, giving a little, kiss-drowsy smile. "I'm definitely okay with this arrangement, did I say that yet?" Thomas announces. He squirms grimacing, but chuckles, as Newt's fingers pinch him on his side.

"Slim it," Newt says, breathless. His own cock flushed and glistening at the tip. "We don't have all night."

This is part where Thomas feels he doesn't know—holy fucking shit, Newt's hand grasps around him, jacking Thomas slowly, positioning himself into a kneel. There's the slightest bit of resistance, but Thomas feels himself pushing into Newt's body. So wet and so much more heat than he could have dreamed of.

Newt must have used oil, must have prepared himself before this, because it can't be this easy. Sinking down to the root.

He rolls up, and rocks down, pressing against Thomas's balls and letting out a shaky, euphoric groan. Their rhythm goes awkward and jumpy at first, hands unsure of where to lay, both of them too impatient and burning for touch-contact.

Newt's hips eventually match up as Thomas grinds and thrusts into him, lacing fingers greedily into Newt's hair. He hauls their faces together, kissing him with enough intensity to pressurize his eardrums. Thomas strokes his tongue to the surface of Newt's lips, feeling him open up a second time for him, willingly, moaning in effort.

They buck and writhe against each other, hearing only their pulses and loud, exhilarated gasps and slick flesh.

.

.

Everyone's been on edge lately.

Alby's been stung. There's an unconscious girl in the medical hut. Thomas isn't exactly a good listener, but he's been promoted to a Runner. Gally is the person taking the news less than enthusiastically, and goes about the chores.

Right around daybreak, Gally climbs up a boulder, thumping a splintered stick in his hands.

On the other side of the boulder, Newt leans one-handed, choking through another vomiting fit. He's bringing up nothing but hot, pooling spittle. Mornings, and any food, and morning food especially—none of it agrees with him. Frypan adamantly insists his cooking has nothing to do with this, and interrogates some of the other Cooks.

"They're heading in," Gally speaks up conversationally, staring off towards the direction of the Maze thundering open its doors.

And, Minho and Thomas racing through the huge, metal-built entrance.

"It'll be, uh—uugh!—" Newt coughs up the rest of his sentence, loudly gagging and bending over once more. "Shuck," he curses softly, leaning his temple to his fist, eyes squeezing tightly closed. "Oh, buggin' hell…"

Gally peers down from his sit, frowning.

"You seen a Med-jack yet?" He observes, concerned, "You should go. You're shaking pretty badly there, Newt." When the other boy doesn't answer and coughs weakly, Gally leaps off the boulder, cupping and massaging the back of Newt's neck.

"Get off," Newt says in a semi-angry growl, knocking Gally's arm.

The other Glader puts up his hands in surrender, genuinely surprised by the violent motion. "Hey… just trying to help you, man." Gally tells him, sternly, "Do what you want. But we need you right now without Alby."

"Alby hasn't gone anywhere," Newt replies, without the venom this time. He frantically wipes off his mouth and nose.

"… You know what I mean."

.

.

Somehow, and some bleedin' way in the damn universe, Newt feels his affection for Thomas strengthen.

He's the sole person Newt will allow to clasp their arms around him, for no reason whatsoever, just to revel in the sensation of Thomas's warmth and attention. He's the person Newt leads through the Deadheads into the hidden hut.

Thomas has always been highly impulsive, as well as a concoction of horribly dangerous personality traits. He gives Newt more of a headache often than reassurance, but Newt likes him. It's more than that… it has to be… feels…

Minho's hand claps his shoulder in a hasty, friendly gesture, as he passes Newt. Thomas jogs over, reappearing from the Maze, his grey-blue pullover soaking. His sweat-dripping, dark hair sticks up like it's been windswept. The energy coursing through him keeps Thomas bouncing on his heels.

"Hey," he greets Newt, a ludicrously happy smile on his face.

When he rushes in, for a swift and short kiss, Newt leans out.

"I can still taste the vomit," he says apologetically, gripping Thomas's shoulders to force him still.

Disappointment and worry blazes in Thomas's eyes, but he tries smiling again. "I don't exactly smell like a rose garden either," Thomas points out, lifting an arm and exaggeratedly sniffing his armpit. He winces. "… shit, wow yeah."

"Better put that away then," Newt says, lowering Thomas's arm and flashing him a mildly teasing look.

After a minute of walking back together, he feels Thomas's hand creep over his side, gently pressing in. Newt returns the favor, hugging his own arm to Thomas's waist, in comfortable, knowing silence.

.

.

They get swept up in the chaos of the coming days:

Alby's death. Leaving the Maze. Gally following them. Chuck's death. The truth about WCKD and the earth. And then, being rescued. Shoved into a helicopter.

"Hot water, WOOOOO!" echoes inside the shower area. Several of the boys laugh uproariously.

The vapor-white steam fills Thomas's eyes, swollen-red and leaking. He leans completely with both palms weighing to the tile-wall, soundless and quivering sobs wrecking him.

He doesn't know if what's happening is relief, or fear, or mourning—but, it's so hard to breathe.

Newt joins him in the tiny stall, his damp, sandy-blond hair clinging to his forehead. "Tommy, don't…" he mumbles, grabbing Thomas's slippery-wet arm as his hands slam to the wall and allowing the other, naked boy to embrace him roughly, pushing his face against Newt's throat. Newt inhales sharply and lifts a hand, burying his fingers into dark locks.

"We're alright," he says with as much conviction as possible, rocking them together. Keeping his dismay and own mixed emotions at bay as Thomas cries harder against him, arms tightening around Newt. "We're out. We're going to be alright now… you'll see it."

"—Lookin' good!"

The rest of the Gladers walk by, clapping shoulders and nudging each other, taunting. But none looking over.

Thomas immediately straightens up, letting Newt go, rubbing his eyes.

Maybe… maybe Newt's right.

.

.

Everything in the med-wing has a faintly sterile, metallic smell. Even the people.

Thomas isn't a fan of needles and getting blood drawn, but he sits complacently for now. He tries questioning the personnel running his tests, but these adults love their humoring, childish smiles and continuing what they were doing like Thomas never spoke to begin with.

Minho's on a treadmill, getting his stats read and cataloged.

Teresa gazes up at a female doctor in a pristine, white lab-coat, nodding politely and allowing her to shut the curtains around them. Shit. Don't panic. She's not going anywhere, don't panic, don't, Thomas reminds himself. He… he just doesn't want to be separated from anyone else. Not after the Maze.

Across the room, on the far left, Newt catches his eye and scrunches his mouth. It's barely even a smile, but Thomas is friggin' glad to see it.

Everyone else is accounted for, within easy sight, besides Teresa behind the curtain.

"Thomas?" One of the guards approaches him, his expression like the other adults. Full of warm disposition, and masking something else entirely. Thomas distrusts their 'saviors' more each moment longer they're all here. "Come with me."

He shakes his head.

"I'm gonna stay here," Thomas replies, straight-faced, clasping his hands loosely between his knees.

"I'm afraid I'm under orders."

"Tell your superior from me then." A nearby doctor tuts as if in outright disapproval, and Thomas side-eyes her before adding, firmly, "He knows where to find me and everyone else now. It's not like we're going anywhere, right?"

The guard's smile fades.

Before an argument, Thomas sees Minho plucking out his vital-wires, swearing. On the opposite side of the med-wing, another bigger armed guard places a leather-gloved hand to Newt's upper arm, tugging him insistently.

"—are you—GET OFF ME!" he yells, attracting the other Gladers' attention.

"Don't make this difficult, kid, Let's go."

Thomas jerks onto his feet from the low, cushioned chair. A sudden onset of panic blares through his veins. His guard and two doctors back up, their eyes going wide.

"Hey! Newt!" he shouts.

"Thomas, you need to sit down."

"What are they doing?" Thomas demands, feeling extremely dizzy from the lack of blood. "Wh—where are they taking him?"

"Calm down. It's procedure. Everything's fine—"

More yells, both Gladers and adults. Thomas doesn't know how it's happened, but Newt collapses bonelessly onto the floor, half-caught by the bigger guard and motioning for another door-guard to take Newt's other arm and drag him upright.

Thomas's voice cracks with fury.

"Newt!"

A tray of blood and fluid-filled vials goes crashing from the nearby cart, shattering as he attempts to run forward. His guard snatches onto the back of Thomas's shirt, tossing him downwards. "Newt—let go of me, fucking let go of me! Minho!"

With open-mouthed horror, he watches a grim-faced Minho halt in place. The double-barrel of a gun presses to his forehead.

Something pinches Thomas's nape, like a sting, and he's… so heavy…

.

.

"You're not going to try that again, are you?"

Janson.

A room with no windows and artificial, turquoise-tinted lighting. Thomas clutches the side of his pounding head, rolling sideways. "I'm sorry about this, but you had to be sedated," Janson explains, close to sighing. "You were making quite a fuss earlier."

"Where am I?" Thomas asks, glancing around in slow amazement. He's still dizzy. "Where are my friends…?"

"In the dining hall. I'll have a guard escort you, but first, let's talk…"

.

.

Teresa and Newt are nowhere to be found. It's been three days.

Aris is the one who helps Thomas see the truth. It's still WCKD—it's always been WKCD. They all escape through the ventilation systems. Capture one of the doctors, and make her point out the right direction to the secondary medical facility.

She claims they're both in the operating-wing.

Thomas hands Minho the massive gun, letting the others gather up and tie the wrists of their hostages—shriveling and pleading grown men, becoming docile, bowing their heads. He discovers the first bed, pulling aside the curtain.

"… Teresa?" he whispers, loosely clenching her arm and shaking it.

Her bright blue eyes flutter open.

"Thomas?" she breathes out, confusion evident.

"It's okay… you okay?" Thomas asks gently, rubbing her hand, seeing her nod once. "Good, okay. Where's Newt? Do you know…?" She lifts her head, gazing sleepily over her shoulder at the last curtained bed, right behind hers.

He moves around her, quickly thrusting aside the white, plastic curtain.

Newt's in the same type of clothing as Teresa—like soft, cottony night-clothes, shapeless and colorless. He's deeply unconscious, a clear-looking IV bag hooked to Newt's left arm. Oxygen tubes snaking out of Newt's nostrils.

"Wake up, hey," Thomas says, getting louder and more frantic. He brushes his hand attentively over Newt's temple and hairline. "Newt? C'mon, man—we gotta go, we gotta get out of here. Newt, c'mon…"

The other boy stirs, wrinkling his nose.

If this wasn't the worst time ever, Thomas would call it adorable.

"Shuck am I?" Newt slurs, his eyes slitting open.

Already pumping high on adrenaline, Thomas succumbs to his roaring impulse. He clasps the back of Newt's head, pressing his mouth to Newt's with a vigorous, noisy smack. "Doesn't matter, we're getting gone. You're safe."

"Hey, shanks! This is really heartwarming and everything, but we need to GO NOW!" Frypan screams.

One of the guard-soldiers bursts through their self-made barricade.

Minho aims, shooting him in the chest.

Thomas's eyes locate the glass-screen.

.

.

It's hell getting out, and it's hell outside in the Scorch, too. A dust-storm whips up, shrieking in their faces.

The exhausted, fear-driven Gladers retreat for the Underneath, with nothing but themselves and the rags on their backs. And, as they discover when Minho shows them, a backpack full of high-caliber weapons.

Newt throws off his hospital garb, wincing at the tender soreness running through his body and lean muscles. It's been constant lately, on top of nausea—but god damn, he's been feeling weird. Bloated… or something like that. He discovers a mound of rumpled clothes, switching his pants, yanking on a white tee and charcoal zip-up jacket.

Teresa steps out from the shadows, as he examines the ratty scarf around his neck, having changed herself.

"Feeling good?" Newt asks, peering up. "WCKD's been having quite a time with us apparently."

She slaps her flashlight against an open palm, its pale light bobbing.

"I heard them talking about it…"

"Yeah?" he says. "About what?"

At her meaningful, silent look, Newt barks out a curt laugh, shaking his head.

He has subdued, glowing memories—of being hoisted out the med-wing, laying prone to an examination cot, strapped and then unstrapped. A machine whirring. Ticklishly cool gel spreading on his abdomen. All of this in a drug-induced haze, and all the whispers. It's a miracle, they whispered above him. It's a Variable—it's unnatural—it's WORKING.

"I'm not bloody pregnant," Newt announces, smiling with a blade's sharpness.

"Your tests were positive. All of them."

He raises his voice, not enough to turn anyone's head, but for her to get the impression that he'd had enough. "Did you ever consider they could have been lying? Making the whole thing up while you were listening to them?"

"No," Teresa says, with such grave and honest finality. "Did you?"

Newt's mouth is already dry to start, but now his throat clenches up, like there's a rock lodged somewhere in it.

He… he did.

He wanted it to be another lie from WCKD. Another sick joke, another trick or obstacle he can run from.

"How many months did they say?" Teresa asks, watching his expression.

"… Two," Newt says, his exhale shuddering. "Close to three… that's…"

"You won't be able to hide it for much longer, Newt. You can't." She pleads, coming forward, her eyebrows raised. "You need to tell someone. You need to tell Thomas—because it's his too, right?"

Newt's fingers swipe absently over his lips. He avoids eye-contact.

"Why don't you search that corner for supplies—any food, any extra clothes we can take with us. We're going to need it," Newt instructs her, monotonously. He can't. He can't do this right now.

Teresa doesn't say anything more, fortunately. She touches Newt's arm, and it's meant to be sympathetic—but, that rock is still lodged deep in Newt's throat. As soon as she's out of sight, Newt sniffs, using the heels of his palms to wipe the tears off his cheeks, grinding down hard, repeatedly.

.

.

They're attacked again—this time by Cranks veiled in the darkness.

Winston is badly hurt. He's dying, and nobody wants to say it. Wants to believe it.

He cannot take Teresa staring at him anymore, in longing and unspoken interest. Newt joins Thomas on the sand-encompassing dune. The surroundings glimmer with the heat.

"How far do you think?"

"We'll get there," Thomas says determinedly, gazing off towards the mountains. "We have to… for Winston."

Newt rolls his eyes so hard back in his skull that he can feel the world rotate on its axis. "You talk like a damn broken record," he retorts, accent thick. "Why don't you just SAY you don't know what you're doing?"

"Why are you acting like this?" Thomas snaps back at him. "I don't get it—whats going on with you? What's wrong?"

"What—what's wrong?" Newt lets out an exaggerated, mock laugh, forcing it out to Thomas's face. "Would you like the bloody shucking list of it?" He yells at full volume, as it travels down, as his face reddens. "We don't know WHO we are trying to find—the Right Arm? Mysterious mountain people? It sounds a bit like klunk!"

Teresa races over, her headscarf falling down. She puts herself between them, lying a hand to Newt's sternum.

"Newt, please—"

He gestures towards her, with the same mock-amusement and grin, but bitterness in every word. "Maybe you should ask Teresa what's wrong with me? Teresa apparently hears everything that happens, and believes it!"

Thomas stares at her, mouth thinning.

"… What's he talking about?" he asks, murmuring.

"We shouldn't do this right now."

"Teresa—"

"I'm pregnant, that's whats wrong, Thomas!" The color drains out of Newt, and Thomas's lips part in silence. He never calls him 'Thomas' anymore. "I remember, I remember all of it—they wanted to CUT it out of me! Experiment on both of us, and who the hell knows what else! WCKD treated this whole thing like it was victory!"

Thomas's face twists up, more bemused than anything. "Why were you there, Teresa?"

Newt throws up his hands in front of him.

"Ohmygod, does it even matter anymore—don't—!" he hollers, pulling out of Thomas's grasp on him.

"Newt, man—"

A gunshot.

.

.

"Congratulations," Winston murmurs, black blood shining on his lips and chin.

It's enough to tremor at Newt's resolve, to hear a kindness like this. He holds himself steady.

"You're… gonna make it. Both of you."

Newt clicks off the safety. He rests the handgun against Winston's collarbone, everyone else's stares boring on him.

"… Hope so," Newt says, emptily.

.

.

They don't need the additional heat, but the crackling fire provides a sense of security. Familiarity.

It's quiet, exactly like a funeral gathering.

"Newt, I need you to talk to me," Thomas says beside him, his sun-browned, tired face streaking with moisture. It's the same on all their faces—clumps of sand on their wet eyelashes, on their lips, in their ears and inside the fabric of their clothes.

He doesn't turn his head to face him. Not to his leader, not to the boy Newt realizes he… he does love.

"We're all dead, aren't we?" Newt whispers, no longer crying. The skin under his eyes and his nose flush-hot.

Thomas eyes him, frowning.

"No, we're not," he insists. "We're not."

Newt finally looks up, meeting gazes. His apathy slipping into vulnerability. "You're not even going to ask if it's yours, Tommy?" he says, voice breaking.

It's an unbearably long moment, but Thomas's hand discovers Newt's on the ground, slipping over his fingers.

"Even if it wasn't… whatever happens now to us, I'm not gonna abandon you." Thomas tilts his face down, staring at Newt's flat stomach. "Or you," he repeats purposely, the corners of Thomas's lips quirking up.

Newt's mouth flattens. He cocks an eyebrow before smiling, gripping Thomas's hand to his lap.

.

.

There's lightning.

There's more Cranks, but chained like pet, rabid dogs.

There's WCKD.

Somehow, and some way in the damn universe, Thomas survives the retreat and crawling underground. Along with Brenda. He makes it back to his friends, hugging everyone, feeling their immense relief and overwhelming shock.

"Didn't know if you were gonna make it back," Newt mumbles, their cheeks nestled together. Their hands lock against each other's skulls and clutch in close, unrelenting.

Thomas pulls away first, his blood-cracked fingers wrapping to Newt's hips as he gazes down intently.

"How's…?"

Newt's eyes follow, right to the middle of his torso. Oh.

"Pretty sure she's fine," he says, beginning to smile as Thomas gawks.

"I—It's a girl?"

Newt shrugs.

"I have no idea. Minho seems to think so," he confesses, hearing a distant laugh. "Guess we'll find out."

.

.

The Right Arm is a tinier resistance than they expected.

But it's safe.

.

.

It's getting colder out.

"I'm sorry, Thomas."

WCKD has their coordinates, and now his friends are bound in rows, waiting to be thrown into the Berg.

"We already have the Flare," Teresa explains, standing beside Ava Paige. Her bright blue eyes tear-filled, and Minho snarls from beside Frypan. "Everyone does. But we're Immune, some of us. WCKD needed to experiment on them… to create a way to produce the enzyme in its purest form…"

Newt is led up the ramp with the first Immunes, along with Aris, and something inside Thomas snaps apart.

He flips open the bomb's trigger, holding out both objects for everyone to see. Hysteric-fueled screams erupt. Massive, bulking guns point towards him. "LET THEM ALL GO!" Thomas yells, "I'M NOT ASKING AGAIN!"

"Thomas, think about what you're doing—"

"—SHUT UP!" he screams out, high-pitched and unforgiving in Ava Paige's direction.

"At the very least… let us take Subject A5."

A5. The Glue.

"Tommy, listen to me…" Newt speaks up, calmly over the noises of the helicopter blades and men with orders. Thomas's heart thuds painfully hard. His thumb on the bomb's trigger flexes. "You don't have to kill us all…maybe this is the way to save all of you."

"I told you—I told you—"

"You're not abandoning me, Tommy…" Newt's smile grows soft and sad on his lips. "I'm abandoning you," he says. And, it's like all the oxygen sucks itself out of Thomas's chest.

"He's not one of the Immune, Thomas," Ava Paige tells him, matter-of-factly. "He won't survive without us."

Janson nods in agreement, his gun-hand lowered.

"Subject A5 is very valuable to us in his current state," he announces. "Think of all the good you'll be doing."

"Cause that's what it is, right?" Thomas snaps, his red-stained teeth exposing. Teresa stares him down, despite the betrayal in Thomas's eyes. "WCKD is good?"

"We don't expect you to understand."

In the fluorescent-halo light of the Berg, Newt lowers his face and shut his eyes.

The bomb detonates.

.

.

Paradise is greener than he ever imagined. Greener than any thick, swaying grass in the Maze.

It's… it's peaceful here. Absolute.

Brenda's here. Teresa, Minho, Gally, Chuck. Winston and Frypan arguing over smoking-hot boiled meat. Jack, Aris, Harriet and Sonya screeching happily and doing cartwheels over by the flowery meadow. Jorge yawning, his arms thrusting skywards. Alby knotting together some rope on the bridge, nodding over to Vince and Mary.

Newt sits cross-legged by Thomas's bare feet, his nose wrinkling in concentration.

"Did I ever tell you it's adorable when you do that?" Thomas says, sitting down with him, grinning foolishly. He feels the other boy nudge his shoulder harshly. But also, very carefully, due to the small, lilac bundle swaddled in Newt's arms.

Kaya gurgles contently, staring up at her parents with her little, dark brown eyes.

"I'm glad we're here," Newt says, passing the infant to Thomas and stretching out his legs. A passing, cool breeze hits their faces. There's no Thank you, Tommy, but it's there all the same.

Thomas's mind is quiet for once.

.

.


TMR is not mine. Before finishing up the books, my theory was always Paradise ultimately being the afterlife, so I decided to test that out here. AT LEAST THEY ARE ALL TOGETHER? This kind of got a Where We Belong feeling - one of my other fics that explored a happy afterlife, so ahaaha, that's neat. Also, if you know me - you know that mpreg is my guilty pleasure I don't hide, but this was a milder version. This follows the movie adaption more closely, this time around.

Any comments/questions are so, so appreciated - also, has anyone seen the TST gag reel or the deleted scenes? THERE'S A GIANT NEWTMAS SCENE THEY TOOK OUT.