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Just Forget the World

Title: Just Forget the World
Fandom: the Maze Runner
Pairings: pre Minho/Thomas
Warnings: Angst, depression
Word Count: 4780
Disclaimer: If I owned it, there would be more kissing.
Summary: The day the map is finished something breaks in Minho's mind.


The day the map is finished something breaks in Minho's mind.

The runners' model is perfect, he knows it's perfect, and months of work are represented by each section they've laid out. But no matter where Minho looks, all he sees is failure. Every path curves back toward the Glade or dead ends against the walls; the maze is a shucking circle and there's no way out at all.

Minho keeps staring at the map like it's going to change if he just waits long enough, like something panicked isn't clawing in his chest. They're never getting out. They're trapped and they're going to die here, their lives nothing but entertainment in some sick bastard's game.

Hopeless. It's hopeless. All those months for nothing. I lost my friends for nothing. Nothing but a larger prison and a shucking hopeless cause.

“Minho? Are you okay?”

We're trapped. Trapped. Trapped.

“Minho! There's no exit. What are we going to do now!?”

The question snaps Minho from his thoughts, the teen looking up to see his runners staring at him with wide eyes. Ben is the one who spoke, the only one brave enough to say what all of them are clearly thinking.

If he doesn't say something, Minho is going to lose them. His runners will tell everyone that the maze can't be solved and the gladers' only hope will disappear. Minho can't let that happen. Alby can only keep the Glade running smoothly so long as the others agree to follow him and everything will fall apart if this truth gets out. They’ll go back to those dark days at the start.

“We run it again,” the keeper says, forcing his shoulders straight. It takes a second for him to let go of the map table – he was gripping the wood so hard that his fingers won't unbend – but thankfully his runners don't seem to notice. They're too busy gaping at him in surprise.

“What? But Minho...”

“We run it again!” Minho snaps. “Someone must have made a mistake. We run it again until we find the answer and if any of you shanks tell the others that it's hopeless, I will shut you up myself.

Ben flinches back, nearly falling before Aaron catches him. Minho isn't lying; he has never lied to his runners and he will rip their throats out here and now before he lets them ruin everything.

“But I won't need to do that, will I?” the keeper asks and the other teens nod fervently. “There is a solution to this puzzle and I know that we can find it. We are runners. This is what we do. So rest up and get ready for tomorrow. The maze changes every night and one of these walls is bound to move eventually. We'll find the way out and then we'll be heroes, our names carved in stone forever afterwards.”

To give his runners credit, they are loyal. Aaron starts nodding first, then Ben, and then the others, Minho's threat forgiven halfway through his speech. They believe Minho because they want to believe him and because he has never given them any reason not to trust him; he's the only reason half of them are still alive.

So his runners leave the map room grinning, ready to face a new day with their hope restored, and it's only when the door swings shut behind them that Minho falls to his knees. He rests his head on the table and lets out a silent shriek, choking the noise down in his throat so that no one else will hear.

Minho hadn't known he was this sort of person. He hadn't known that he could threaten to kill his friends and mean it and he hadn't known that he could lie.

But he did and he could and he'll do it again to defend the world that Alby's built. The other gladers can never find out that it's hopeless and if he has to lie to his friends in order to protect them then that's exactly what he'll do. Let them continue to think escape is possible while only Minho knows the truth.

The keeper slams his fist into the ground, one last act of helpless anger before he locks his emotions down. He can't afford to panic – can't afford to listen to the voice still shouting trapped! inside his head. Minho has to act normal or the other gladers will realize that something's wrong.

So the teen pushes himself to his feet, squaring his shoulders and pasting his usual smirk upon his face before he leaves the runners' hut. For the first time in his memory, the expression feels unnatural but no one seems to notice the pain behind the mask. They don't realize that Minho's world has shattered into jagged little pieces and it's all he can do to keep himself upright.

Even Alby just listens to his report and then claps him on the shoulder, telling Minho to grab some food like it's any other night. But the keeper can't eat, not when the other teen's blind faith makes him want to puke. So he just excuses himself from the bonfire, heading back to his corner and collapsing on his cot.

---

Minho changes after that.

Not on the surface, not at first. Minho does everything exactly as he's done for over two years: waking his runners up at dawn to search the maze until dusk drives them home again. He compares their maps to the model inch by painstaking inch, looking for a door or pattern that he hasn't found before. But there's nothing. Every section opens and every section closes without a new way out.

Minho doesn't expect one. He knows the maze better than anyone; he was running back when the Glade was nothing but a handful of scared kids in a clearing and there's no corner of this place he hasn't searched.

But the keeper still tells Alby that they're making progress whenever the other glader asks. He tells his runners that the solution must be just around the corner, cajoling them into continuing when they want to give it up. Minho lies and lies and lies until the words turn to ashes in his mouth.

As the days turn into weeks, the teen stops laughing and joking with the others. His smiles become less common and when they do appear, the expression is more of a grimace than the open grin it used to be. Minho spends his days in a fog of numbness, withdrawing a little further every time he wakes up and remembers that his life is pointless now.

Eventually Newt stops asking, letting the keeper brood to his heart's content though he still gives Minho worried looks from time to time. In contrast, Alby is a little more direct in his approach, sitting Minho down one evening and ordering him to talk.

“The Glade can't survive on secrets, Minho. We're a family and we have to work through these things together. I won't have you getting hurt out in the maze because there's something's on your mind.”

Minho doesn’t know what to say. The truth could break Alby like it has shattered Minho and his friend doesn’t deserve the pain of that. But it’s Alby. If the keeper can’t tell Alby than he can’t tell anyone and he so desperately wants to share his burden and have someone understand. Maybe Alby will see an answer that Minho missed somehow.

So after a long pause the keeper nods, his shoulders slumping as he says, “We finished the map, Alby.”

“Okay... Isn’t that a good thing?” the other glader asks. “We can finally get out of here.”

“We finished the map, Alby; we didn’t solve the maze,” Minho corrects, rubbing a hand over his face with a sigh. “You think I wouldn’t have been screaming it from the watchtower if I had news like that?”

“Well, shuck it. Are you sure?”

“I’ve run every inch of it myself. There’s no exit, not that I can find,” the keeper says, hating the way that his friend’s expression falls. He should never have told him. He should have sucked it up and bore this burden on his own. However, while the other glader’s face runs through the same rage and pain that Minho felt, it settles into a sort of grim determination instead of bleak despair.

“Who else knows about this?” Alby asks, his mind already focused on containment and the Glade’s morale.

“Just my runners. But I convinced them to keep looking for a different pattern instead of giving up,” Minho tells him. “They won’t spill the truth when they think there’s still a chance.”

“Good. That was good thinking. The others need the hope of getting out,” Alby says, clapping Minho on the shoulder. “Keep the runners you have but don’t choose any new ones; I don’t want anyone else learning that the map is finished and we don’t have that many hands to spare. Damn, Minho. No wonder you’ve been quiet. This isn’t good news but I’m glad you told me. You’re my friend and you don’t have to deal with things like this yourself.”

“You shank, you’re one to talk,” Minho replies, startling himself with a laugh. He feels a little lighter now that Alby knows the truth; lighter and less guilty about lying when his friend agrees it’s justified.

But the good mood doesn’t last and Minho doesn’t laugh again for a long, long time. Because nothing has really changed; they’re still trapped here and he’s still lying, the teen growing more numb every time the box arrives and a new wide-eyed Greenie tumbles out. He may have shared his secret but Alby doesn’t like to talk about it. Alby turns his efforts to improving the Glade with new fervor, finding strength in his purpose like the keeper can’t.

The only time that Minho feels alive is when he's running, his dark thoughts silenced by the rhythm of pounding feet on stone. It's the closest that he comes to freedom; the closest that Minho comes to hoping anymore.

Even then he sometimes wants to end it. Sometimes he goes out into the maze and considers staying there. The keeper can’t risk getting stung and falling is too uncertain but a few quick slashes of his knife would be sure to do the trick. He doesn’t fear the pain and he’d be free then, free of the maze at last. But even though Minho doesn’t want to live like this, he can’t quite bring himself to die.

---

And then the box sends Thomas. Thomas who won't stop asking questions about the maze and wants to be a runner. Thomas who is either the bravest or the stupidest person that Minho has ever met.

Something about the other boy intrigues him from the beginning. The Greenie is bright and alive even in his fear and for the first time in months, Minho feels the numbness lift. He finds himself watching the other teen as he wrestles with Gally by the bonfire, admiring the play of muscles in his arms as much as his stubborn refusal to back down.

That's an interesting development if not entirely surprising and one that Minho wouldn’t say no to exploring later on. However, the keeper shortly has much more important things to worry about than one Greenie's pretty eyes.

First Ben gets stung out in the maze, something that should be impossible. No one has been stung since the early days when boys would run away in panic and come back half mad with the Changing and frothing at the mouth. You can survive a night in the maze, the idea that no one ever has is a lie they tell the Greenies to keep those slintheads safe. You can survive a night in the maze but you always get stung and then the Changing kills you afterward.

That’s what happens to Ben. He goes berserk and tries to strangle Thomas, Newt taking him down with a shovel to the head while Minho watches sick at heart. Because his friend is dead already; he died the moment he was stung and the only thing left to do is say goodbye. The only thing to do is banish Ben before he loses all control – the runner given to the maze to keep the other gladers safe. Yet Minho can’t ignore a shiver of foreboding because Ben should never have been stung while the doors were open and if the rules are changing, then everyone’s at risk.

So the day after Ben is banished, the keeper tells his remaining runners to take a break. Minho doesn’t want anyone else going out in the maze until he knows what happened and he’s really hoping that Ben just did something dumb. Maybe the other teen found a dead or injured Griever and stung himself somehow.

The keeper plans to retrace Ben’s steps alone but Alby insists on coming and no amount of arguing makes him change his mind. So it’s the two of them who head into the maze that morning, following the trail that Ben took yesterday.

The runner’s path is obvious since he didn’t pick up the leaves he used as markers but it still takes them much longer to get out of the Narrows than Minho would have liked. Alby’s out of practice and the sun is high overhead by the time they reach the door to Sector Three.

Minho hasn’t seen any sign of a Griever – in fact, the run has been entirely uneventful – and the keeper isn’t sure whether to be worried or relieved. On the one hand, he still doesn’t know how Ben got stung, but on the other hand, it seems his surviving runners should be safe enough. And if the gladers haven’t found anything by now then they might as well stop looking because Sector Three won’t reopen for another week.

“All right, we’ll rest here for a bit and then head back,” Minho says, calling a halt to the search. He drinks some water and walks around the landing to keep his muscles from stiffening while Alby pants into his knees. But the teens have barely caught their breath before part of the door to Sector Three flips open and something starts crawling from the wall.

“Move, shank! Shucking move!” Minho shouts, dragging Alby back to his feet. He shoves the other teen forward, the two of them sprinting away toward the next turning at top speed as the creature shrieks. It has to be a Griever but Minho isn't looking back to see what the monster looks like; looking back is how you die. Not that the keeper expects to outrun a Griever for very long but he remembers seeing an open access tunnel in the next corridor over and if they can make it, they might actually survive.

The gladers have nearly reached the junction when Alby stumbles, Minho reaching back to grab his arm without breaking stride. The other teen is lagging but the keeper won't let him fall, not when their goal’s in sight. He shoves Alby toward the tunnel, pulling the pack off his shoulders before following.

The tunnel cuts across a portion of the Narrows, opening out by the door to Sector Four, and Minho scrambles inside just as the screeches grow deafening. Alby is waiting for him a little ways from the entrance so the keeper squeezes past the other teen to take the lead. The Griever’s shrieks chase them through the tunnel, echoing like thunder off the tight metal walls, but when Minho finally reaches the other side and looks out, the corridor there is clear.

“All right, Alby; let’s get out of here,” he says fervently as he climbs out of the tunnel. “If Grievers are walking around the maze in daylight then I really don’t want to see it in the dark.”

At least the gladers can move faster now that they don’t have to retrace Ben's footsteps, Minho already planning the quickest route out in his mind. They'll be cutting it close to dusk but they should make it as long as Alby can keep up.

So Minho tightens the straps of his pack and takes off running. He keeps his pace measured; only stopping to rest when his lungs are burning and Alby starts to fall behind. Even then the teen keeps them moving in case the Griever is still active, walking briskly until his friend has the strength to run again.

“Nearly there,” the teen gasps when they reach the inner portion of the Narrows, the first words that he's spoken since they started running back. “We're going to make it.”

Only Alby doesn't answer and when Minho turns around, his friend has stopped a few yards back. He’s just standing there, unmoving, and a shiver of unease crawls down the keeper's spine.

“Alby? We're almost there. What are you doing?” Minho asks. Something isn't right.

The other teen doesn't move when he walks closer, his gazed fixed firmly on the ground. So the keeper reaches out to shake his arm. “Alb-”

The seconds that Minho touches him, Alby lifts his head and snarls, the sound making the keeper stumble back in surprise. His expression is twisted with pain and fury, purple veins just barely visible against his skin.

He's been stung, Minho thinks in horror before he falls backward with Alby's hands around his throat. His head bangs on the stone and while his friend is growling something, the teen can't make it out over the rushing in his ears. So he just grabs Alby's hands and slowly pries his fingers open, his movements growing more sluggish as his air runs out. Minho's vision is going spotty by the time he manages to shove the other glader off him, a well-placed elbow making Alby wince.

But his friend isn't giving up that easy and the keeper has barely made it to his knees before Alby tackles him again. Minho scrabbles for a weapon, his hand closing on the first thing that he finds. He slams the rock into Alby's head with a sickening crack, pressing the advantage when the other teen reels back. Minho leaps onto Alby, pinning him to the ground with his weight before one more blow finally knocks him out.

Shuck it all to shucking hell, Minho thinks, the bloody rock falling from nerveless fingers as he stares down at his friend. I knew I should have made him stay behind.

If the other glader were awake, he would tell Minho to leave him. There's no cure for the Changing and Alby's only going to get banished anyway. But the Glade needs Alby like it has never needed Minho and the keeper is going to get him home again. He can't lose another friend, not so soon after Ben, and even if it's hopeless, Minho doesn't care. The teen can worry about the Changing once Alby's safe and sound.

So Minho pulls Alby's arm over his shoulder and staggers toward the Glade as quickly as he can. The keeper is racing the sun now and he doesn’t know if he’s going to win, not when Alby is a hundred plus pounds of dead weight at his side.

One hundred yards. Then fifty. Then thirty. Minho rounds the corner to see the entire Glade waiting for him at the exit, his goal in sight even as the maze begins to groan. The rush of air knocks him off balance, making him lose his grip and drop Alby to the floor.

“Come on, Minho. You can make it!” someone shouts.

“Minho! You gotta leave him!”

But the teen can't listen. Not when Alby's life is far more important than his own. So Minho just hooks his hands in Alby’s shirt and starts dragging, refusing to give up as long as there's a chance. However, that last ten yards might as well be a mile and when the doors start to close, Minho knows his cause is lost.

He sinks to the ground in defeat, only his eyes crossing the distance that remains. The other gladers all look horrified, even Gally, and if he had the breath to speak, Minho would shout something comforting. Some clever one-liner so that his friends could say that he'd fought bravely to the last.

As it is, the keeper just meets Newt's gaze and mouths, “I'm sorry,” before looking away from the pain on the other glader's face. His eyes fall on Thomas, the Greenie standing front and center, and Minho suddenly finds himself wishing desperately. He would have liked to get to know the other glader better, have actual conversations instead of staring from afar. He would have liked to kiss Thomas if the other teen were willing and maybe then waking up wouldn’t seem so pointless anymore.

Minho knows he's staring but he figures he's entitled and the Greenie's face is pretty good as far as final visions go. It's only because he's staring that the keeper sees Thomas square his shoulders, the other teen's horror replaced with determination between one instant and the next.

He's going to run for it, Minho realizes just as Thomas suddenly darts forward between the closing doors. Newt tries to grab him but he misses, the other gladers shouting for him to turn around. But he doesn't and the keeper watches with his heart in his throat as the Greenie pushes on. The doors are almost closed now but Thomas keeps coming, tumbling into the maze just seconds before he would have been a smear upon the walls. He looks up at Minho almost proudly and the teen has an overwhelming urge to punch him; the maze didn't need to claim another life tonight.

“Good job. You just killed yourself,” Minho growls before letting exhaustion pull him to the ground.

He's done, utterly done, and he fully intends to lie here until the Grievers come. He always knew the maze would get him someday and it seems that time has come.

But Thomas has other ideas. Thomas thinks they can survive the Grievers because he's too damn stupid to know when the fight is lost. He has hope and it takes everything that Minho has not to laugh hysterically.

If Thomas weren't here then Minho could have let the numbness take him; face his death with calmness and a sort of dignity. But the other teen refuses to give up. He badgers Minho into helping him drag Alby deeper into the maze, the keeper only agreeing to shut the Greenie up. Nothing that they do will make a difference – he and Thomas will die tonight or they’ll get stung and die tomorrow; those are the gladers’ only options now.

Minho may have escaped the Griever this afternoon but the access panels always close near sundown and the maze doesn’t have any other hiding spots. He certainly can’t outrun a pack of Grievers while dragging Alby and Thomas needs to stop thinking otherwise.

Who is this Greenie to lecture him about helping Alby anyway? Alby is Minho’s friend, not Thomas’- they’ve been through things together that this shank can’t even imagine and if there were a shred of hope, the keeper would fight the Grievers tooth and nail. But there isn’t and if Minho is going to die, he would rather die running than crawling on his knees.

So when Thomas suggests hanging Alby on a nearby vine-covered wall, the keeper agrees even though the whole idea sounds ridiculous. It’s not like he has anything to lose at this point and if they do manage to hide the other glader in plain sight, at least something good might come from tragedy.

“All right, let’s do this,” Minho says, taking the rope out of his pack. He climbs about twenty feet off the ground and loops the rope around the thickest vines that he can see, tugging on it to make sure the vines will hold. Then the keeper climbs back down and rigs a harness around Alby so that he and Thomas can start hoisting the other glader up the wall.

Even with both of them working together, it goes slower than Minho would prefer and Alby’s weight keeps threatening to drag the keeper off his feet. But he just grits his teeth and pulls harder, determined to get this done before the Grievers come. To be perfectly honest, the teen is surprised that they haven't been attacked already and he certainly doesn't expect their luck to last. Indeed, Alby is only about twelve feet off the ground when Minho hears a noise that chills his blood.

He glances around the corner to see something moving in the shadows, moonlight glinting off sharp metal claws. A Griever has finally come for them and the keeper feels his panic rising at the thought. He can't do this. That creature is a nightmare wrapped in flesh and metal; Minho's worst nightmare brought to life.

“Stay with me, Minho,” Thomas is saying, trying to calm the keeper down. But the Greenie didn't see it; the Greenie doesn't know. He still thinks the maze is something beatable and he's never been more wrong.

When Minho looks around the corner again, the Griever has gotten closer, a dark shadow moving through the night. A grotesque monstrosity slowly creeping closer and when its face catches the light for one brief second, Minho's courage snaps. He wants to live. The keeper thought that he could deal with dying but he can't deal with this.

“I'm sorry, Greenie.”

Minho runs. He turns tail and runs as fast as possible. Thomas calls after him but the teen doesn't listen, blind panic driving him onward through the maze. He runs without thought or planning; he just knows he has to flee. Minho probably would have run headfirst into a Griever but when he rounds another corner, an unseen rock twists his ankle under him.

The teen falls hard, his skin burning as he skids across the stone. When Minho finally rolls to a stop, his arms are covered in scrapes and scratches and his right leg is dripping blood. He lies there on his back, panting where he fell, and his panic slowly fades when nothing else attacks. But as the keeper's terror disappears, guilt rises in its place.

You left them there, you slinthead! You shucking left! Minho curses, rolling over and slamming his fist into the ground. He's the keeper of the runners, everyone in the maze is his responsibility and his friends wouldn't even be here if he'd done his damn job properly. Alby and Thomas would have been safe back in the Glade if not for Minho and he left them there to be eaten by the Griever without a second thought.

Shame drives the teen to his feet, self-disgust stronger than his fear. Minho still wants to live, the Griever still terrifies him, but he can't live knowing that he left his friends to die. So even though it's probably too late, Minho turns around. He has to know if Alby and Thomas are somehow still alive.

It takes the keeper a minute to figure out where he is since the maze looks different in the dark and he wasn't exactly paying attention to his route. But it seems that instinct led him well. Once he gets his bearings, Minho realizes that he's not all that far from Alby; his panicked flight must have been largely circular.

So the teen takes a shortcut, hugging the walls and running as softly as he can. His heart is pounding and his nerves jump at every unfamiliar sound. But he won't let fear control him, not again.

Minho has to protect his friends; that's his only purpose now.

When he rounds the corner to see Alby hanging on the wall exactly where he left him, a wave of relief nearly makes the keeper fall. He leans heavily against the stone, letting out a slightly hysterical giggle before he covers his mouth with his hand.

Thomas did it. Even though Minho left him, Thomas still came through for Alby and his respect for the Greenie ratchets up a notch. He may be a reckless idiot but he doesn't shatter when his life is on the line. However, Thomas also doesn't know the maze like he does; he might get trapped when the walls start shifting and Minho needs to find him fast.

So the teen starts tracking Thomas, keeping his ears open for any sign of life. Minho isn't sure which way the Greenie went but if their paths had crossed, the keeper should have found a sign. So he heads down the corridor where he had seen the Griever, zigzagging through the maze to cover as much area as he can. Although Minho does run into a few more Grievers along the way, they're not exactly quiet and he always hears them coming in time to hide. The access panels may be closed but the teen manages to conceal himself within some nearby vines or climb to an upper level until the threat moves on.

Even so, the teen's first full glimpse of a Griever almost makes him break again, the reality of the creatures so much worse than he had dreamed. Three times his height, a slug-like body wrapped in knives and dripping with some kind of viscous slime.

The only thing that gets Minho moving is the thought of Thomas out there somewhere, scared and running from the Grievers on his own. The other glader needs him and he can face his fear for that.

So Minho pushes on, each encounter easier to handle than the last. As long as the teen stays out of sight, the Grievers walk right by him even though they should have been able to hear the wild pounding of his heart. Whatever else happens, this proves that the maze is survivable as long as you keep your head together and Minho wishes that he'd known this years ago. The keeper could have saved so many boys from dying painfully.

Don't shucking think about it, Minho tells himself, shaking the idea from his head. Just find Thomas and get the Greenie out.

Barely a minute later, the keeper finally hears something, a terrified shout bouncing off the walls. He takes off running toward the sound, using the other glader's yells to guide his path. Thomas is making no effort to be quiet and while Minho can't really blame him if he's being chased by a Griever, the Greenie will bring the entire maze down on them if he keeps on like that. Hopefully nothing else is listening right now.

Minho takes a sharp left and dashes through another corridor just as the gears start grinding in the walls. The maze is preparing to change again, this whole section closing off, and the keeper is running out of time. But then Minho gets lucky. He makes a right and slams into the other glader, grabbing his arms to keep them both upright. While the Greenie is dirty and terrified, he doesn't seem to be injured; Minho got to him fast enough.

However, there's a Griever on his trail, the teen can hear it screeching, and they have to leave right now or they'll be trapped.

“This section is closing, come on. We can lose it down here,” Minho shouts, pulling the other glader back the way he came. As soon as Thomas starts to run, the keeper lets go, trusting that the other teen will follow him. But when he reaches the entrance to the Narrows and looks back for the Greenie, Thomas isn't there.

Instead he's standing on the other side of the corridor, taunting the Griever like he has a shucking death wish, and he doesn't answer when the keeper orders him to run. That idiot is going to get himself killed and Minho is about to go after him when Thomas finally moves.

He dashes into the corridor just as it starts closing, an enraged Griever snapping at his heels. Minho screams encouragement while Thomas sprints toward him, the Greenie racing both the Griever and the maze's closing walls.

“Run, Thomas! Don't look back!” Minho shouts. He leans forward, staring at Thomas like he can will the other glader to run faster. “Come on, Greenie! Let's go!”

The walls are almost shut, only a few feet left between them, and the Griever is starting to run out of space to move. But it just digs its legs into the side of the corridor and keeps on coming even faster, reaching out for Thomas with its claws. One blade catches the back of the Greenie's shirt, throwing him off his stride so that he nearly falls. The stumble costs him dearly and the Griever lunges forward with a triumphant shriek.

But Minho lunges forward as well, grabbing hold of Thomas and pulling him out of the corridor before those wicked claws can fall. The gladers tumble to the ground in a tangle of limbs, momentum carrying them to safety just in time. The keeper looks up to see the maze slam shut on the Griever with a sickening crunch, the monster crushed between those unforgiving walls.

Holy freaking shit; we made it, Minho thinks, flopping back onto the stone with a disbelieving laugh. We actually made it.

Thomas is still sprawled on top of him, soft and warm and breathing, and the teen has never felt more alive than he does right now.

“You crazy shank. Are you all right?”

“I'm fine. Just a little bruised, I think.” Thomas lifts his head and smiles down at Minho, proud and scared and happy all at once, and in this moment, the keeper knows he's lost.

This mad Greenie killed a Griever. He did something that Minho never thought was possible and so maybe the maze has an answer after all. Maybe it just requires courage as well as careful planning to escape this prison cell.

Thomas has done more than save his life and Alby's tonight; he's given the keeper back his purpose and the hope of something different. He's given the teen a reason to keep living and wherever the other glader's reckless courage takes him, Minho will be there. He'll follow this Greenie to the ends of the earth if he has to because he's with Thomas now.


End