Disclaimer: I don't own anything from the Maze Runner movies and I'm not making any money from this fic
Summary: A man and a woman are reunited with their son
Warning(s): Spanking; violence; descriptions of a virus that turns sufferers into zombie-like creatures; AU; minor spoilers for The Maze Runner and The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials; major spoilers for The Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Pairings: Janson/Ava; eventual Newt/Thomas
Author's Note: This is probably completely contradicting the book canon, but I'm just using the movies as a basis
She couldn't cry. She stared down at her son, waiting for the tears to come. But all she felt was numb.
Newt's head rested in Ava's lap. His eyes were closed, his breathing slow and even. He wasn't infected. But he wasn't immune, either. And she couldn't protect him. She couldn't protect any of them.
The sound of the door sliding open drew Ava's gaze up as Janson stepped into the room. "Thomas and Minho are testing nearly off the charts!" he exclaimed, almost before the door had closed. "I can't say anything for their bloodwork. That's your department. But physically, I'd say they're both ready."
Ava knew she should tell Janson that Thomas wasn't going into the maze; that he would be better placed outside, no matter how difficult it was for him...for all of them. But what came out was, "Newt isn't immune."
The shock on Janson's face mirrored the shock she'd felt when she'd got the results back. He stepped slowly over to the couch and sank down on the other side of Ava. "He knows?"
As if, in sleep, realising he was being talked about, Newt whimpered and stretched a hand out behind him. Janson took it and the teenager relaxed back into sleep.
"Does he know?" Janson prompted softly, one hand smoothing over the blond hair.
"I don't know how to tell him." Ava shook her head, a bitter smile curving her lips. "I should be used to giving bad news, but how can I tell our son that he wasn't born one of the lucky few? That we have no way of protecting him? That unless we find a cure..."
"Then don't tell him."
Ava stared at Janson and he met her gaze without flinching. She shook her head in disbelief. "And how do you propose we do that? Unless we keep him completely isolated, he'll get exposed to the virus."
"Then we put him in the maze." Janson looked down at Newt's hand that he still held. Only the blanching of his skin indicated just how tightly he was holding onto his son.
Ava shook her head. "I can't do that." She stared at him. "I can't believe you'd be willing to put him in the maze."
"We don't have to." Janson met her gaze and then looked down at Newt. "We could keep him here. Away from his friends. And if you fail to find a cure, everyone will become infected. And the only ones with even a slim chance of survival and the ability to rebuild will be those kids."
"The mazes are hard. Designed to push them to the limit to generate the antibodies needed to hold the virus at bay." Ava kept her voice as low as possible, but there was still an edge to it that Newt apparently heard, as he gave a soft whimper in his sleep and tensed, his nose wrinkling and brow furrowing. She waited, to be certain he wouldn't wake, and then continued, in a fierce whisper, "It's going to be hard enough on all of them as it is, without introducing one who's not immune into the mix. And I wouldn't be allowed to put him in. I don't care about getting into trouble for falsifying his medical records, but he's not going to be any safer in the maze."
"But maybe it'll buy him time," Janson replied. "He doesn't have to be the only non-immune put into the maze. Will it be dangerous for him? Of course. Without a doubt. More dangerous than staying here?" He looked into her eyes. "I think he stands more of a chance there."
"You're going to send me into the maze?"
Newt's quiet voice drew Ava's attention down. She looked into her son's blue eyes and stroked his cheek. "It's the best chance you have."
"So I'm immune?" He stared up at her, his eyes wide and trusting.
Ava couldn't lie to him. If she tried, she knew the words would catch her in her throat and he'd know. Why did she find it so easy to lie to other people, but when it came to her family, when it was the most important time to be dishonest, she couldn't do it?
"Of course." Janson smiled and squeezed his hand. "Why would we send you into the maze if you weren't?"
Newt slowly sat up, his hand still in Janson's, even as he slumped against Ava's side. "I won't remember you. When you put me in the maze. I won't remember anyone. Will I?"
"If we find a cure and are able to pull you out, we can of course return your memories." Ava wrapped her arm around Newt and held back a sigh as her son's warm, solid weight settled against her shoulder. He was really too old to sit on her lap, no matter how much she might want to pull him there.
"And if not?" Newt asked, his voice soft.
"Think of it this way," Janson said. "If we fail, the infection will spread to everyone not safe in the mazes. When you get out, you won't recognise us – and surely that's better than seeing your parents as monsters."
Ava wanted to scold her husband for speaking so bluntly. He'd already given Newt false hope. A bit more couldn't hurt, surely?
"How long do I have with you?" Newt looked between them.
"You'll need to bunk with the other boys," Ava answered. "Train and work with them. The memories will be taken from your mind, but the muscle memory will remain."
"You'll still see us, but I'll be taking an active part in training you," Janson said. He wrapped an arm around Newt's shoulders, pulling him tight against his side. "I'll make you strong. Make sure you thrive."
Ava looked away, hearing what Janson wasn't saying.
Make sure you survive.