"The course of true love never did run smooth."
— William Shakespeare
It was late. It was really, really late. It was a Friday night - well, Saturday morning, technically - but it was still late. Thomas wasn’t not enjoying the party he was at. Actually, he’d had a really good time. Newt and Minho were there, first of all, and the other people present were actually quite enjoyable as well. There hadn’t been any fights or drama, just some drinks and some laughs. He had had a good time. Was having a good time. It was just that he wanted to have a good time - or, you know, a tolerable time - at his 8:00 morning shift in six hours.
"Well, we should be getting home," Thomas said to the room, slinging a lazy arm around Newt's shoulders. "Work in the morning. You too, actually." he said, turning towards Newt.
"Oh." Newt said loudly, alcohol heavy on his breath and currently, right in Thomas's face. "Bloody hell."
The room buzzed with laughter and Thomas smiled. He hadn't had any drinks but warmth filled him and drunk happiness surged in his veins. It was a good night. He turned his head to plant a kiss on Newt's cheek, feeling the other boy's face spreading into a lazy smile under his lips.
A familiar voice grabbed Thomas's attention. "Awh, look at the happy couple, disgusting as always." Minho. Thomas smiled and rolled his eyes, planting a kiss right on Newt’s lips for good measure. Newt chuckled out of the kiss, sticking his tongue out at Minho.
Minho put on a look of disgust and shook his head. Thomas laughed, knowing Minho meant no harm by his expression. He had been the one to introduce Thomas and Newt back in middle school, and the one to ensure that the three of them had become an inseparable group. He’d also been the first one to find out once Thomas and Newt finally got together together, and wasted no time in telling them that he’d seen it coming for years. Obviously.
“We should go, though.” Thomas said finally, glancing down at his phone to check the time. 1:54am. Shit.
"You driving?" Minho asked. Thomas nodded. "Be careful. Don't die." he said dryly.
"Wow," Newt piped up, "now that, that was bloody inspiring."
"Yeah, we should really leave." Thomas said, feeling Newt lean his weight onto him even more. "Alright klunkhead, let's get going." he said, patting Newt's chest and guiding him carefully towards the front of the house. As they made their way down the corridor they were met with byes and laters.
They stepped out onto the porch and were met with a rush of warm air clouded with smoke. Newt inhaled deeply and coughed, waving his hand through the air. The porch and front yard were both littered with smokers. Thomas was glad that that was not a habit he or Newt had picked up.
They walked down a long, paved pathway and Newt spoke up. “Do I actually have work tomorrow morning or was that just so you could get me alone?” He smiled in a way that Thomas could only describe as astoundingly suggestive.
“Dude,” Thomas laughed, slipping his hand into Newt’s. “how do you not know your own work schedule?”
Newt made a sound of indifference and began to swing his and Thomas’s arms in the cool nighttime air. They stepped off the paved path and onto a gravel road, looking down a row of cars. After a few minutes of walking, Thomas pulled out his keys and unlocked his car. “Shotgun!” Newt yelled, ripping his hand from Thomas’s and half running, half limping his way around to the other side of the car.
Thomas laughed and opened the door, sliding into the car. Newt was already sitting in the passenger’s seat, fiddling with his seatbelt. Thomas turned the key in the ignition and the car grumbled in protest. “Come on.” Thomas mumbled, turning the key harder, smirking to himself when the car finally gave up and started. He glanced at Newt, eyes closed with a relaxed smile on his face. The peaceful look on the blond’s face made Thomas’s chest warm as he pulled the car onto the beat-up road, rolling out into the pitch black ahead of them.
A few minutes later, Newt began to hum, tapping his fingers on his bad ankle. “Why’s it so far?” Newt asked, bringing his spindly legs tighter to his chest. “Winston’s a little weird, too. Maybe ‘cause he lives so far.” he added.
Thomas snorted in agreement. Winston did live far. On a farm. A bit inconvenient, but worth the hassle if he had the entire place to himself for a weekend. He was known for throwing great parties, even if he was, like Newt said, a little weird. “Yeah. He is.” Thomas said, biting back a laugh.
Newt huffed, wiggling to cross his legs under him. “I want to sing.” his accent became thicker as he mumbled to himself, reaching over to turn on the radio. Thomas chuckled. Newt was, in a word, adorable. Incredible. Extraordinary. And, he was Thomas’s. Thomas didn’t know how he got so lucky that he managed to have his best friend fall in love with him, but it happened.
Sure, Thomas had seen Newt sing in the car, drunk, many times before. Maybe too many times. Each time Thomas had probably stared at him with the same look he was staring at him with now (the ‘fuck me emotionally, please’ look was what Minho had so lovingly called it). But now it was different. Because Thomas knew that Newt felt the exact same way about him, intoxicated as he was or not. And knowing that was pretty fucking amazing.
“Sing with me!” Newt demanded, pulling Thomas from his thoughts with words much too loud. “Tommy!”
“Okay, okay.” Thomas said, smiling at Newt’s fake pout. “Fine.” he said, looking back to the stretch of black road. He took a breath and began to sing along with Newt.
“You’ll be the prince, and I’ll be the prince-” Newt burst into giggles and Thomas picked up from where Newt left off.
“It’s a love story, baby just say-”
“Yes!” Newt yelled, another fit of giggles coming over him. “I say yes. How ‘bout it, Tommy? I’ll be your prince and you’ll be mine?”
Thomas tapped his fingers on the steering wheel, smiling even wider, if that was actually possible. “You’re already my prince, you dumb shank.” Thomas felt dumb saying it and he knew that if Minho was there he would never let him live it down. Ever. But Minho wasn’t there and Newt was his prince, and that was that.
Newt hummed. “I love you, Tommy.” he said, eyes closed.
Thomas took one hand off the wheel and threaded his fingers through Newt’s. Pure light filled him up. “I love you, too.”
Then there was a loud crunch, and everything went black.
There was something beeping loudly, and it was completely dark. There was absolutely nothing but the darkness and the beeping, the noise slowly growing more distant as time went on. It could have been seconds, minutes, hours - he didn’t have any concept of time as he listened to the sound. The slow rhythm of the beep beep beep was almost lulling him back to sleep. The heavy blackness in front of his eyes was so inviting and he was so tired. He tried to move but it was like there was a pile of concrete on top of him, holding him in place. The beeps were growing farther in time and farther away, leaving him slowly. The darkness was getting deeper, thicker; sleep was beckoning it’s finger and Thomas was about to follow.
Then he remembered the truck.
His eyes shot open and he sat straight up, every muscle and bone in his body screaming in protest. The beeping returned to him, faster and pounding inside his skull. He collapsed in pain, gasping for air. He lay on his back, shaking, and after a moment he dared to move his eyes. White popcorn ceiling. Beige walls. A white board with messy, indecipherable scrawl. Machines - countless machines. Grey railings on either side of him. Hospital, Thomas thought.
Hospital. The events of the night before - was it the night before? Thomas had no idea how long had he been asleep - came rushing back to him, accompanied by the now rapid beepbeepbeep of what was now presumed to be a heart monitor. Memories came to him like lightning. There was the party, then he and a very drunk Newt had left. They were singing, and then there was a bright light for half a second then never-ending darkness.
“Newt.” Thomas croaked, his throat like sandpaper. He could feel - and hear - his heartbeat starting to pick up dangerously fast. His breathing grew panicked and he dared to turn his head. A searing, red hot pain ripped through his neck and he collapsed, trembling on the pillow, room spinning around him. As far as Thomas could tell, he was alone.
“Newt.” he tried again, the words louder and clearer this time. “Newt!” he gasped loudly, panic seizing him. He needed to find Newt. To see him. To know he was okay. Thomas’s throat began to constrict, the tell tale feeling of an asthma attack creeping up on him. He tried to suck in as much air as he could, pain tearing through his ribs with each labored breath. The panic had really set in - he was utterly defenseless, unable to move, unable to breathe. Each moment that passed sent a new wave of terror through Thomas, the beeping in his ears faster and louder than ever.
He could feel the oxygen leaving his body, oozing out of him with each short gasp. Black spots began to dance in front of his eyes and the frantic beeping started to grow quieter, farther. Several bodies rushed into the room, moving all around him and yelling words he couldn’t hear. The last thing he saw before everything went black again was a tall, blurry and eerily familiar figure, standing still just outside the door as bodies brushed past it.
When he opened his eyes again, Thomas was sitting up. The same messy white board was hung on the same boring beige wall and the same plethora of machines surrounded him. There was a needle stuck in his arm and taped there, presumably filling him with some unidentifiable fluid. He felt panic rising in him once again but forced himself to keep it at bay. Slim it, Thomas, he told himself, taking a deep breath.
Then he noticed a doctor in a white lab coat standing with their back to him, writing something down on a bulky chart. Thomas braced himself for pain when he slowly turned his head, surveying the rest of the room. Surprisingly, no agony ripped through him this time. Nothing. Thomas was shocked, curling his fingers and toes painlessly.
“Ah, Thomas, you’re awake!” The doctor - an older woman with pale blonde hair - had turned around and was now smiling at him.
“Where’s Newt?” Thomas asked, the words falling out of him before he knew what he was even saying. “I need to see Newt.”
The woman’s smile softened. “Thomas, you’ve been in a very bad car accident. You and your friend-”
“Boyfriend.” Thomas corrected automatically, eyes flickering from the empty doorway back to the doctor.
The doctor didn’t miss a beat. “You and your boyfriend were hit by a truck very late last night. The passenger’s side took most of the impact but you still have some very serious…” The rest of her words faded into white noise as the truth of her statement hit Thomas with all its reality. The passenger’s side took most of the impact. Newt.
“Where is he? Is he okay?”
The woman stopped talking, realizing that Thomas hadn’t listened to one word. She put her hand on the railing beside Thomas and softened her voice. “The truck that hit you was travelling at a dangerously high speed-”
“No.” Thomas whispered, feeling bile burning his throat. “No.” he repeated, tears filling his eyes. This was not happening. “No, no, no, no, no-”
“I’m sorry, Thomas. Newt-”
“No. No!” he yelled, clutching the railings beside him. He ignored the dull ache in his arms as he squeezed, tears falling from his eyes. “No, you don’t understand. I almost lost him before, I can’t lose him again, I can’t, I can’t, I-” he began to hyperventilate now, the walls of his throat growing closer and closer as the reality of the situation hit him full force. Newt was dead. The doctor didn’t even have to say it. He was dead and gone from the moment the truck hit them.
Newt was dead.