More Than One Reason

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

Summary: Newt realises Thomas feels guilty about Chuck. Written for the spoon or slipper square in the Advent Holiday Bingo

Warning(s): Spanking; spoilers for The Maze Runner and The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials; references to violence towards teenagers and children

Author's Note: Sort-of sequel to Learning The Hard Way

###

"What are you doing, Thomas?"

Thomas froze partway out of the vent and looked up, meeting Newt's gaze. "What are you doing awake?" he whispered.

"After so long in the Glade, do you really think I'd sleep through you sneaking out of the room." Newt held out his arm and when Thomas grabbed it, he pulled him out of the vent. "So what are you doing?" he asked, letting go of Thomas.

"There's something not right here." Thomas sat down on the bed and looked up at the other boy.

Newt sighed heavily. "Look, I know you got us out of the maze. We're only alive right now because of you. But we're all exhausted. On edge. And we're here with a whole load of other kids. What about this doesn't make sense?"

Thomas looked down at his hands and swallowed. Newt was saying the right things, but he couldn't shake the memory of Chuck...Chuck dead because he hadn't been able to save him. It was his fault. He hadn't been able to save everyone. He hadn't even been able to save most of them. And more of them had probably died than if he hadn't ended up being placed in the glade in the first place.

The bunk dipped slightly and Thomas glanced up as Newt sat down next to him. He sighed and looked down at his hands again. "That kid, Aris? He showed me something. There are these bodies being taken into a room."

"What room?"

"I don't know."

"Okay...who do the bodies belong to?" Newt asked.

"I really don't know that either." Thomas looked up, catching his gaze, and shrugged. "Sorry." He wanted to say that maybe Newt was right; maybe he was looking for what wasn't there. But Teresa had been taken away. He didn't know what was going on with her. Was she safe? Were they hurting her? Who were all these people really?

"I know how you feel," Newt said.

"I'm not sure you do," Thomas replied. "I..." He shook his head and took a deep breath. "Maybe Gally was right. Maybe it really was all my fault."

"There are kids here from dozens of mazes who didn't have a Thomas with them," Newt said. "Maybe none of us would have got out if you hadn't been put there."

Thomas shook his head. He hurt for all of the Gladers who had died...but it was Chuck's death that hit the worst. It had just been...so needless. They'd got out.

"Okay, you know what? I'm not sitting here watching you wallow in self-pity, Tommy," Newt stated.

Thomas glanced up at his friend, surprised at the tone in Newt's voice. He recognised it from when Newt had switched him in the forest, but they weren't in the Glade now. He opened his mouth, but before he could voice even a word of protest, Newt had taken hold of his wrist and pulled him forward with a surprising amount of strength.

Thomas ended up half-sprawled across Newt's lap, one leg curled on the bed and his other resting on the floor, bent at the knee. His hands had shot out to catch his balance and he now used them to adjust his position, pulling his leg up so that both were now settled on the bunk. "I thought you only used a switch," he muttered.

"I use what's to hand."

Opening his mouth, Thomas quickly closed it against a quiet 'yip' that wanted to escape when he felt something small and hard snap against the seat of his pants. He twisted his head round just in time to see Newt bring the implement...a spoon...down against his bottom again.

The spoon made a dull thwap sound each time it hit the seat of Thomas' pants and he blushed as it became harder to keep any sounds from escaping. Each time it landed, it left behind a small stinging pain that faded to a dull itch, only to be reignited the next time the spoon fell.

Thomas strained his ears, wondering if any of the others were awake. He wasn't naive enough to believe none of them were aware of Newt's role as punisher back in the Glade...but he definitely didn't want any of them to see him in this position.

Fairly certain he'd get through what Newt decided to do to him without embarrassing himself, Thomas stiffened when he felt the other boy's fingers in the waistband of his pants. He threw his hand back to cover his smarting backside, even as he hissed, "What are you doing?!"

As if in answer, Newt cracked the spoon down on the spot between buttock and thigh. Thomas couldn't hold back his yelp and his hand slid away, allowing Newt to pull his pants down.

Although Thomas' underwear was in place, it didn't offer much protection as Newt brought the spoon into play once more. He began squirming over his friend's lap, shoving his hand over his mouth to stop the cries that wanted to escape.

"I'm not going to let you do something stupid or dangerous because you feel guilty," Newt whispered, his soft voice a stark contrast to the sharp blows from the spoon he wielded so effectively. "We're a team, Thomas. You should have woken me up."

"I didn't want to be responsible for anyone else dying," Thomas whispered, swallowing as tears filled his eyes.

Newt didn't pull his underwear down. It might have been easier if he had. Instead, he slipped the fabric covering Thomas' right cheek up, exposing bare skin and delivering ten very crisp smacks with the spoon.

Thomas jerked his legs, but Newt held him easily in place as he repeated the pattern on the opposite cheek. "I want to hear you say it."

The pain was sharp and intense. Thomas threw his hand back to cover his bottom, even as he rasped out, "Say what?"

Newt barely missed a beat as he moved Thomas' hand to the small of his back, the spoon landing more on bare skin than covered flesh. "That Chuck's death wasn't your fault. That any of them dying isn't on you," he stated.

"I...can't," Thomas managed to get out.

Newt yanked his underwear all the way down, but instead of starting again with the spoon, Thomas heard and felt the sensation of flesh striking flesh.

His backside already sore and tender from the spoon, it only took two smacks for Thomas to start trying to push away. Tears ran down his cheeks as he fought to pull his hand from Newt's. To make it stop. "It was my fault!" he couldn't help but cry. "I should have been faster..."

"No. It wasn't your fault, Thomas. You got us out." Newt's voice was soft. Intense. Filled with emotion. "We were dying anyway. You said it yourself. You couldn't watch us die anymore. We got out because of you, Thomas."

The tears running down his cheeks were nearly blinding him. Somewhere deep inside, Thomas desperately wanted to believe Newt. That he wasn't bad. That he could be forgiven for his mistakes. He choked on a sob...but with that one, more were torn from his throat and he slumped over Newt's lap, crying as if his heart had broken.

It seemed to take an age for the storm of his tears to abate, but eventually, Thomas became aware of Newt rubbing his back. His clothing was covering him again and he no longer felt so exposed and vulnerable, even though his emotions were raw and all over the place.

Newt helped him to stand and wrapped an arm around his shoulders. Thomas pressed close for just a moment, allowing himself to be comforted, and then pulled away to face the other boys who had gathered around the bunk.

"So what's the plan?" Newt asked.

The End