Thomas’s eyes fluttered open to the sound of gentle waves lapping gently over crystal sand. Slowly rising to his knees, he glanced over at the note that kept him awake for most nights. Newt, knew… this was going to happen. He went through every day in that horrible city, subtly fighting to survive whilst fulfilling his role as the team’s shoulder. It hurt. It hurt Thomas to know that his friend was going through such a pain alone. But… in a Newtly fashion, he didn’t let that stop him. He went through it, with a smile, with a love, and that inspired Thomas to keep going. For Newt, and… everyone who helped him get as far as he did, he’d move forward for his friends.
The voice belonged to Brenda, caring eyes searching for the depth in Thomas’s.” You okay?” The brunet’s eyes tore away from the writing to smile at the woman softly.” I will be. Is Vince actually going to let me do chores today?” Brenda’s brow’s curved mischievously.” Depends on whether you think him not being here counts as permission.”
“ That’ll do.”
The woman chuckled softly, swatting playfully at his knees before walking out the tent. Thomas followed after the woman, eyes observing the construction of what seemed like a new bunkhouse. They needed more of those. Ever since Vince started expanding his ship routes, more and more kids have been flooding the beaches.
Thomas wouldn’t have it any other way.
They wanted to help anyone they could out of the hellscape that surrounded the youth. Something that seemed to come of a rarity. He knew Vince was just recently visiting Markus for a new round of teenagers. The man had been luring kids in with drugs, alcohol, and other sorts that looked pleasing to a young eye. Jorge, also joined his side in the fight. He wanted an excuse to beat Markus to shit again anyway.
The thought made him chuckle. At some point during their walk, Gally subtly joined their side, walking shoulder to shoulder with Brenda.” What’s going on, stranger?” He teased lovingly to the woman, making her smirk softly.” I dunno. You tell me… I was just showing Thomas over to some work.” She spoke, making Gally raise a brow.” Yeah? Good morning, Greenie.” He spoke, earning him a tired sigh from Thomas.” Do you really have to call me Greenie? It’s been about two years since we’ve been in that maze—“
“ To me you’ll always be Greenie.” He smiled, eyes beaming with a genuine appreciation for the man.” Anyway Uh… feeling better?” Thomas visibly shadowed over with those words.” So so, I think I just need to work.” Gally nodded his head.” Good that. Nothing better to make you blank than some labor.” Brenda scoffed, elbowing the man in his gut, making him grunt.” C’mon big guy.” She muttered softly, Thomas cackled close behind at the awkward flush that formed on Gally’s cheeks. Brenda simply flashed him a stunning smile that made his expression relax, sending Thomas a gesture towards a place where Sonya and Harriet were working together.” They oughta get you started on some work. Vince’ll be back soon though. Don't catch him seeing you overwork yourself.” He spoke softly. Thomas then flapped his two fingers into a salute.” Duly noted.”
Sauntering over to the two women, he could make out the fuzzy words that they were speaking.
“ Do you think Aris knows about us?”
“ Please. The dude is too freaking smart not to.”
A chuckle escaped the blond’s lips, making Thomas freeze in his steps. The way she brought a hand to her lips when she started giggling… the way she would recoil slightly in the spine, and squint her eyes to add emphasis to that… dazzling smile of his. The same one that made Thomas speechless the same day he came out of the box.
“ Greenbean? Meet Newt. He’s in charge when I’m not around.”
“ It’s a good thing you’re always around then. Listen, that was some dash you made earlier. For a second I thought you had the chops to being a runner.”
“ ‘Till you face planted.” He added banterfully, the corners of his mouth tugging into a soft smile, making Thomas feel a tight pinch in his heart.
“ Thomas! Hey!” Sonya gestured, making the boy’s mind travel reluctantly back to the present. A place without Newt. Thomas slowly approached the couple with a smirk.” So, I overheard you two talking about a said secret.” He murmured teasingly, making Harriet scoff.” Well it’s nothing that concerns you, now is i—“
“ We’re dating!”
“ Sonya!” Harriet exclaimed with a shocked expression, making the blond shrug with nonchalance.” I don’t care who knows it. I love you, and I want people to know how absolutely lucky I am.” This made the mocha skinned woman smile sheepishly, eyes trailing to the dirt floor.” Geez. You really know how to make me speechless.” Thomas felt his heart expand for the amount of love that was blooming for his small corner of the world.” That’s great you guys. I can say though, Harriet’s right. Anyone with half a brain could see that you two have eyes for each other. I mean… remember when that group F kid tried to kiss Harriet at the bonfire?” Sonya’s eyes lit up with a familiar fiery blaze.” I’d rather forget! That- that— drunk, wee little daft little shank had another thing coming if he thought he’d lay a single finger on my Harry.” She defended hastily, earning a whisper from Harriet to the ear.
Thomas could feel such joy for his friends… but even then, a small part of his heart was missing his own love. Teresa… the unresolved tension left the man with a tear in his heart. It would’ve been better if she had left him for dead. At least then he didn’t have to feel guilty… but now? Since the fall, all he could think of is how her death was his fault. That she could’ve indeed survived, if Thomas just complied with WCKED. She could’ve lived to see another day.
Just one more name to haunt him during his restless nights.
Thomas shook his head to ask a question, ignoring the sinly demons that were constantly tugging at his heartstrings.” Gal said you’d have some work for me to do?” Sonya nearly spoke, but he cut her off quickly.
“ —And no fertilizer. Been there, and I have graduated from Greenie duties.”
“ You’re no fun.” She exhaled slowly, beaming softly alongside her partner.” How’s about you help Frypan in the kitchen? We’ve got a new shipment of food. Doubt with him in charge, you’ll do much cooking. But he’ll certainly need help with the mess.” Harriet nodded softly at the statement.” I can second this. Poor guy. Took him another hour or so to get everything cleaned up after the newbies’ feast.” Thomas felt sympathy hit his heart for his friend, nodding his head softly.” Yeah. I’ll help him out. You guys need anything else?”
“ Just take care of yourself, Tommy!” Sonya hollered, making Thomas’s mind suddenly flash with memories. A flood that overtook all of his senses. Newt… and Sonya. Sonya.
“ Sonya. They made her name Sonya, Tommy. What kind of name is that?”
“ Lizzy. Her name is Lizzy. I won’t forget it. I can’t.”
“ I won’t either, Newt. I promise.”
Sonya’s eyes squinted slightly in confusion, a soft tilt of her head to emphasize the bewildered stretched over her fair complexion.” Pardon?” Thomas nearly screamed out her real name, before biting down on his own instincts. Son— Lizzy, barely even knew Thomas. She couldn’t hear something that groundbreaking from him. “ Hey. Newt’s your brother. Y’know, the crank that died?”
He nearly gagged at the words that rang through his head. It would come to be pure blasphemy from the likes of him. And as such, he would hold onto the name like a lifeline. He owed Newt this. He’d tell her… everything, every, little, thing, about Newt. He could spend hours talking on his smile alone. Let alone what lied on the inside. Externally and Internally, pure beauty.
“ Nothing. Sorry, I’ll leave you guys to it.” He murmured, causing the women to glance at each other suspiciously before continuing to their previous tasks.
“ Newt… give me a sign man. Am I going insane? Or am I actually seeing the truth?” He questioned softly underneath his breath as he continued to walked towards Frypan’s kitchen.
“ Thomas! Hey bud!”
Something… anything, please.
A solid few hours of hard work passed as the boy helped cater and prepare Frypan’s concoctions to the upcoming new arrivals. Thomas could now understand why Fry always insisted that they savor their food like it was the last they’d get. It was hard work. Even with the limited resources, Frypan was the best at what he did. After that effort, his stew never tasted sweeter. Assisting with the table setup, he watched the ship slowly grow closer from the edge of the blue horizon.
As the metallic vessel slowly pressed against the gentle cushioning of the salts of the Safe Haven’s shores, Thomas watched as several disbelieving youths slowly descended from the small railing leading from the main deck. Each one of those faces… carried a pain, a loss, a guilt. Something he could relate too familiarly with. Some even cried, simply clutching onto their friends shoulders for reassurance. From the corner of Thomas’s eye, he caught a small boy even pinching his own arm, as if to test the waters of reality. When his face contorted into a grimace, he glanced around him with wide eyes.” Is this real life?”
“ That it is… all of you. Every single one of you, are welcome here. You are safe… for real this time.” He added, making the crowd softly send out the scattered reverbs of a laugh.
“ Thomas. A word.”
Jorge’s voice made him spin around to meet the man’s gaze.” Yeah… of course.” Jorge glanced over at Vince with a solemn nod, causing the blond elder to return the same grin gesture; Thomas shrunk back softly in concern, but followed the man up the boat anyway.
“ While we were out there, we— we didn’t just find other immunes. We found adults.”
“ An, adult, more specifically.” Jorge added, giving Vince a subtle frown before they both turned to Thomas outside a door. The boy glared at the two with paranoid eyes.” What are you not telling me?” The men exchanged one final glance before opening the door. Unarming themselves, they followed Thomas from a safe distance. The immune slowly sauntered towards what seemed like a blond woman in restraints. He was about to make a remark on wasting his time with a pointless scare, but froze when he saw the face.
“ Hello, Thomas. Long time no see.”
The two Maybe stood in silence for a solid four minutes before the elderly woman spoke once more.” I suppose you’re wondering how I’m still here.”
“ Wondering.” He repeated with an unreadable expression darkening over his face, making the woman sigh exasperatedly.” Well… Assistant Director Janson forgot that I am paranoid. I suspected his betrayal as soon as I started to… sympathize with my subjects. I orchestrated my death, once again. So that I could one day return to reclaim WCKED—“
“ WCKED’s dead.”
“ That’s where you’re wrong, Thomas. WCKED is alive… and, supposedly, they have found the cure.”
Thomas’s eyes looked as if they were seeing into a void. There was… no sort of understanding for the words that came out of her mouth. Thomas was the cure. He knew that. How— how did they find the cure if… he wasn’t there?
“ That’s impossible.”
“ Is it? Think about it, Thomas. Your blood is the answer. Is there a brother or sister you know of? A partner… or perhaps someone you got into a quarrel with? Shared blood, Thomas. Think. Please…”
Thomas searched for an answer within her cold eyes, from what she showed externally, her blue eyes read that she already knew the answer, but wanted Thomas to discover it for himself. Shared blood… What fight? It could be a fist fight, a shivving…
His eyes suddenly pooled over with tears, obscuring his vision to where the woman facing him was a figure amongst static on a television. From the dizzying thoughts that were racing through his mind, he made out the words from her mouth as if he was underwater.
“ Where’s subject A5?”