Learning The Hard Way

Disclaimer: I don't own anything from The Maze Runner and I'm not making any money from this fic

Summary: Before Thomas gets put into the pit, Newt has a few things to talk to him about. Attempt at another bingo line before the blackout – cane or switch square.

Warning(s): Spanking; spoilers for The Maze Runner; some references to violence; movie version rather than books

###

Thomas winced at Gally's response. The other boy had a point. It was hard not to feel responsible for all the bad that had happened since he'd got here, even if he had no idea what kind of dangers had been faced before his arrival. Even if he had no idea of anything outside this place he'd been flung into. Nothing except for his name.

He couldn't really blame Gally for resenting him.

"I'll take him from here, Gally," Newt said, stepping in front of them, blocking their path.

Gally came to a stop and frowned. Thomas watched his face as the other boy slowly shook his head. "I want to make sure he stays in the pit," he replied, a trace of defiance in his tone.

"I'm the one who sentenced him. Don't worry. I'll make sure of it." Newt patted Gally's arm. "I need you to watch over Alby."

"Okay." Gally looked at Thomas. "I'm watching you, greenie," he warned, before walking away.

Thomas watched him disappear before he turned to look at Newt. "Are you worried he'll do something to stop me running tomorrow?"

"Gally?" Newt frowned. "No. That's not why I stopped you. I sentenced you to a night in the pit, without food, but I really need you in top shape tomorrow, so you'll be getting fed."

"But...?" Thomas prompted. After all, unless Gally had planned to stand guard over him all night, it would have been easy enough to sneak food to him. There had to be another reason why Newt had stopped them.

"But Gally's right," Newt finished. "ou broke the rules. You can't claim ignorance as an excuse, since it was very clear that only the runners could enter the maze."

"I saved Alby." But had he really? Alby hadn't woken up. Thomas had dragged him out, but he'd saved his body. Not his mind.

"You pulled him out." Newt nodded. "But your actions could have still lost us three gladers." While he was talking, he walked over to one of the trees that stood nearby, plucking a branch from it and beginning to strip it of twigs and leaves.

"You're worried about a lack of food slowing me down, but you don't think a switching's gonna do the same thing?"

"I've had some practise at this," Newt answered. "It's one of the less pleasant bits about being second in command. You're lucky," he added. "Gally initially wanted the job."

There wasn't really much Thomas could say to that. No arguments that would prove he was in the right and that he shouldn't be punished. Newt could just as easily change his mind about making him a runner if he refused to cooperate.

Breathing in deep, Thomas' hands went to his pants.

Newt held up his hand. "Leave them in place. You'll still feel this."

Thomas nodded and turned round, letting his hands brace against the closest tree trunk. He took another deep breath as he heard Newt move to his side, before asking, "How many?"

"Twelve."

The switch rested against the middle of his backside and Thomas picked a grainy spot on the tree to stare at. He kept his body loose and relaxed as he felt the switch lifted and then heard it whistle through the air before it snapped smartly against his bottom.

Aside from breathing out, Thomas didn't react, making sure his body stayed relaxed. Had he been switched before? He seemed to be responding automatically.

The next stripe landed almost on top of the first, leaving a line of fire in its wake. Thomas kept his eyes fixed on the trunk as the switching continued, rising and then falling just when it seemed the pain from the previous stripe was reaching its peak.

By the time the switch landed for the tenth time, Thomas found it hard to stay still. His backside felt like it was on fire and it was impossible to distinguish between the individual strokes. His breathing had turned ragged and he was biting his lips to keep from crying out.

Newt tapped the switch gently against Thomas' thighs and he couldn't help but tense up in anticipation. When the switch landed there, where the skin was more sensitive and he knew he'd feel it if he sat down, he couldn't help but jump, clamping his lips against the yelp that escaped when the final stroke landed in exactly the same spot.

There were tears in Thomas' eyes, but he hadn't broken down sobbing and he was grateful for the chance to collect himself as he heard Newt step away.

The fierce fire in his bottom faded to more of a sharp stinging as Thomas stepped away from the tree. He swiped at the moisture in his eyes and then allowed himself a quick rub to his bottom before he met Newt's eyes. "You going to put me in the pit now?"

Newt nodded and began walking. Wincing a little, Thomas followed him.

The End