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Swap of Joy - For Starry Wolf

Swap of Joy – Maze Runner fic for starry_wolf :D I hope you enjoy it.

Title – Somebody that I used to know
Characters – Thomas/Minho
Fandom – The Maze Runner (Films)
Rating - PG
Summary – Minho has been in the glade for years. Thomas only arrived 48 hours ago. Yet there is something between them, something strange and familiar that comes from deep down, under the layers of the unknown in their minds. And it won’t stay buried.

A/N – Sort of missing scenes for The Maze Runner and slightly into Scorch Trials. I stuck to the movie storyline rather than the books and weaved a deeper story line/connection to Thomas and Minho’s relationship.

Thank youthtwzjustadream for the beta, even though she didn’t know the fandom, she read through, caught errors, made edits to make it make sense and was a gem for doing so. Any remaining errors are my mistakes.

~

“Who’s there?” Thomas asked, speaking into the darkness. It was pitch black; he could barely see a hand before his face, but his hearing worked just fine.

“It’s Minho,” Minho replied quietly. There was a pause and a scratching of flint as he lit a makeshift torch. Thomas flinched at the light assaulting his senses.

“Isn’t it the middle of the night?” Thomas asked snidely, but he was grateful of the company.

“Thought you might need something to keep your strength up,” Minho replied, holding up a small pouch.

“Already ate,” Thomas grinned.

“Chuck,” Minho said knowingly. “I saw Frypan slipping him something, I figured he was either a midnight snacker or was feeding his buddy. That kids got balls, if Gally found out ...”

“You’re here aren’t you? Disobeying too,” Thomas pointed out to him. “Anyway, I thought Newt was in charge while Alby is out of action.”

Minho stared at him before driving the torch handle into the ground so it would stand on its own and wrestling with the fastening of the pit cage.

“Yeah, but Gally knows I can take him in a fight,” Minho replied. “Anyway, when I left camp he was snoring his head off, dead to the world.”

“You letting me out?” Thomas asked in surprise.

“Hell no, Greenie,” Minho shook his head. “Newt says you’re in the pit for the night, you’re in the pit for the night. Didn’t say people can’t keep you company though.”

Minho slipped inside, pulling the cage door closed again behind him and tossing the pouch to Thomas. Thomas caught it and set it to one side as Minho gave him a curious glance.

“I saw the size of the pouch Chuck brought you; can’t have had much to eat,” Minho surmised. “Aren’t you hungry?”

“Why are you really here?” Thomas asked him instead of answering. Of anyone who might visit him from the glade, he hadn’t expected Minho.

“Couldn’t sleep,” Minho shrugged. “Figured you couldn’t, either.”

“I’m exhausted,” Thomas admitted. “But every time I close my eyes ...”

He let the thought trail off, giving a shiver. Minho drew nearer and sat beside him; their shoulders brushed against one another, and Thomas shivered again in response.

“Yeah the first time I saw a Griever,” Minho said quietly. “I didn’t sleep for days. Hey, Thomas - what you did in there to help Alby and me ...”

“It’s okay,” Thomas said shaking his head. “Let’s not talk about it.”

“We’d have died without you helping,” Minho pointed out. Without realising, they were leaning against one another, like it was natural for them to do so.

“Nah you’d have figured something out,” Thomas told him. “You survived the night too, remember?”

“I shouldn’t have taken off like I did. You entered the maze to help us, and I abandoned you because I was afraid,” Minho sighed. “I’m sorry; I want you to know that. You came to help and you end up punished for it.”

“I broke the rules. I’m just grateful Newt is open minded,” Thomas smiled. “We got out alive because you came back and we worked together. Think more than anything that’s what this place is about; working together, figuring it out, together.”

“You’re a greenie clunk shank to want to go back in there tomorrow,” Minho grinned. “But at least you’re officially a runner now. Just don’t fall too far behind.”

“Oh I’m pretty sure I’ll keep up with you,” Thomas laughed. “You don’t move that fast.”

“Yeah, whatever greenie,” Minho laughed in reply. “Keep talking like that I might leave you to make your own way out tomorrow, see who survives the night then.”

Thomas shivered involuntarily again, remembering their night in the maze. He couldn’t go through it again; a night of hell like that.

“Hey, I was kidding,” Minho said quickly as he tensed up, turning to look at him properly, putting a hand on his shoulder. “It was a joke, Thomas.”

Thomas nodded, but the fear had settled into his gut and he knew it was going to be a long night. He couldn’t get the idea of the Grievers out of his head; their size, their monstrosity, the noises they made.

“You look like you’re about to throw up,” Minho said gently.

“Good job I didn’t eat that food you brought me, then,” Thomas managed to reply, though the words threatened to catch in his throat. They looked at each other and Thomas felt the fear lifting a little, a different feeling settling into his gut instead; a tug of familiarity, which was impossible because they couldn’t remember anything from before they’d arrived. He didn’t even know himself, so why did Minho feel so familiar and safe? “Minho...”

Whatever he was going to say was silenced by Minho’s lips settling over his. The kiss was soft and gentle, Minho’s hand resting on his upper arm, the other on his knee. For a second Thomas let himself drift on the feel of it, the warmth filling his gut. Then it was gone; Minho drew away quickly and stood up, looking nervous and awkward, surprised at himself.

“I – I should go, Newt probably wouldn’t be happy if he found me in here,” Minho explained in a rush. “I know it’s difficult, but try and rest. I’ll leave the torch here for you; you forget how dark it gets in the glade. I’ll be back in a few hours.”

He was already out of the pit again, fastening the lock quickly. Thomas stood under the cage-like door, reaching up, his hand wrapping around Minho’s where it rested on the cage.

“See you in a few hours,” Thomas said quietly.

“Bye,” Minho whispered back, their fingers remaining locked together for a few moments longer before he jumped to his feet and walked back towards camp, darkness swallowing him whole.

Thomas sank back to the makeshift bed and ate the food Minho had brought; a meagre feast, little more than what Chuck had provided but he appreciated the thought. He pressed a hand to his mouth, concentrating on the kiss and how it had made him feel. It had felt strangely familiar and right, like something from ‘before’ only he didn’t know what that meant. Ever since he’d lain eyes on Minho, running out of the maze with Ben the day he’d arrived, he’d felt a draw to him. The kiss had been nice, but what did any of it mean or even matter?

Though he was afraid to sleep he couldn’t stop his eyes from closing, too exhausted to remain awake. His nightmares were filled with running down endless passageways of the maze, something just on his heels; something dark and twisted, groaning, screeching, all legs and mechanical grinding. He fell, down a deep hole and landed with a thud on polished surface.

“WICKED is good,” A voice whispered. There were flashes of light, images, screens with endless numbers.

“Thomas!”

Minho’s voice and then screaming. Minho in a tank of water, seemingly drowning. Alby. Newt. Chuck. He was flung back into the maze, rolling, falling, caught in ivy and the Grievers were getting closer. Turning a corner he screamed, a Griever rising up, fangs, legs, screaming, lurching.


Thomas woke with a jolt, breathing hard, heart feeling like it were about to beat out of his chest. He sat up and buried his head in his arms, the nightmare fading. He tried to hold on to details, but they slipped from his mind’s eye like dust in the wind.

~

“Big day Greenie; sure you don’t want to sit this one out?”

“C’mon man, get me out of here,” Thomas smiled, getting to his feet. Minho was crouched by the pit, loosening the door again and holding out a hand to help haul him out. As Thomas straightened, they remained close and Thomas felt that pull of familiarity again.

“You look like clunk,” Minho told him. Thomas thought he was aiming for teasing, but there was a softness in his tone that belayed something deeper: Minho cared that he looked so tired.

“Feel like it,” Thomas admitted. Minho started to turn to lead the way, but Thomas grabbed his arm, pulling him closer. “Wait – about what happened last night...”

“That why you haven’t slept?” Minho asked, a small smile on his face. Thomas smiled himself, he liked that despite their predicament, despite where they were and having no true idea why, Minho kept a sense of humour. He liked his smile, the dimples that settled into his cheeks and the way his eyes looked when he was happy, even if the happiness was momentary.

“I just… what was that?” Thomas asked him.

“I dunno,” Minho shrugged, “Felt like something I really needed to do.”

“Why?” Thomas said, feeling hot, a hand slipping to Minho’s waist and resting there. He was glad the rest of the boys in the glade weren’t around. He wasn’t sure he wanted whatever was going on between them to be on public display.

“I wanted to ever since I saw you when I came out of the maze with Ben,” Minho said honestly. “Well, I wasn’t sure what I was feeling really – but I’m glad I did.”

“Yeah?” Thomas smiled, “Me too.”

“Yeah?” Minho asked him, eyes widening a little, as if surprised Thomas reciprocated whatever he was feeling. “Some of the other guys, they’ve, you know, become companions. Can’t spend so many years here without getting close to someone...”

“But you never did,” Thomas said knowingly without need the details. He knew Minho, for whatever reason, had resisted temptations. He didn’t know how he knew it or why it felt important that he had.

“Felt like I was waiting for the right person,” Minho admitted. “Then you showed up. Still not sure what I’m feeling, only it’s like – like this is meant to be. Why is that? It’s been years and we’ve known each other a couple of days. Barely that, really.”

“I don’t know,” Thomas shook his head, “But I feel the same way.”

They fell silent, staring long and hard at one another.

“We should go,” Minho said, nodding towards the walls.

“Wait,” Thomas insisted, hand sliding further around Minho’s waist. Minho didn’t resist, hand resting on his shoulder lightly.

They kissed again and Thomas felt the warm familiar feeling return to his belly. He parted his lips with a surprised gasp, a flood of feelings surprising him. It was as if the feelings had been hidden, shut behind a wall that held back the information he needed to make sense of what was happening and suddenly they had been let free. He still didn’t understand, not really, how could he feel this way for someone he didn’t know?

Minho had taken advantage of his surprise; holding him tighter, their parted lips giving way to probing tongues. Then suddenly Minho pushed him away, holding him at arm’s length.

“You sure picked a hell of a time to show up Greenie,” Minho panted, catching his breath. “We really should go; walls are about to open up and we have to get our heads straight.”

Thomas knew he was right; they had a plan to carry out, and as much as he could have happily crawled back into the pit with Minho to explore whatever was going on between them he knew the mission into the maze was more important. He nodded, dropping his hands away, balling them into fists by his side.

“C’mon, let’s go,” He said, trying not to focus on Minho’s lips.

~

“Thomas, no!”

He fell to the ground writhing in pain, fighting to breathe, the thick needle of the Griever piercing into him. He heard the others talking, shouting, trying to help him, but the darkness engulfed him like a cloak and he was lost to his subconscious – and the memories awaiting him there…

It was like floating through clear mud; he couldn’t make sense of everything. Teresa was there, a woman in white, too. They were in a room of monitors; screens filled with information, flashing lights and a hubbub of people moving around.

“Talk to me.”

He was in a small room, dimly lit and Minho was speaking in hushed tones.

“What’s going on?”

“It’s time,” Thomas whispered. “They – it’ll happen soon.”

Minho’s hands were clutching his shirt like he were a lifeline; his eyes bore into his, full of fear and panic.

“Not like this; we can leave this place, we can get away,” Minho urged him. “Please – let’s just go.”

“There’s nowhere to go,” Thomas said, “We’re just kids. They’ll find us, bring us back. They need me.”

There were clanging noises beyond the room and Minho let go of him, sinking back into the shadows shaking his head, “No, not like this. Not like this.”

“You can do this; if anyone can survive, if anyone can make it, you can,” Thomas told him. “You have to.”

“Why are you doing this? Why are you helping them?” Minho asked him.

“Because WICKED is good,” Thomas replied calmly. “Because it’s the only way to save the world.”

“We’re never going to see one another again, are we?” Minho asked him.

There was a banging at the door, making them both jump sharply.

“Don’t let them in,” Minho urged but Thomas was already turning to the door.

“I’m sorry,” Thomas whispered. “There’s no other way, and we need you Minho.”

“I need you,” Minho said, jumping forward, hands on his shoulders pulling him around as he unlocked the door. He shook him hard. “I need you.”

The door opened and guards poured in, peeling them apart. Thomas sank against the wall as Minho fought against the guards, overpowered but still resistant.

“Thomas, don’t let them put me in there. Don’t let them,” Minho was yelling, screaming. Thomas put his hands over his ears, sinking down to the ground.

Suddenly he was walking through a room, a series of pods either side and when he looked closer, he found they contained bodies. They all looked familiar. He drew near to one for a closer look and jumped back in horror as Alby screamed from the tank, bubbles pouring from his mouth as he banged on the window. He stumbled back against another; Newt also screamed, Chuck, Ben, Winston, Gally and there, amongst all of them, Minho screaming too. Thomas beat his fists against the thick glass, as if strength alone would break it.

“WICKED is good,” a voice whispered and he was back in the control room, Teresa standing opposite him. “Remember that, Thomas; WICKED is good.”


~
It was hours, maybe days before they spoke about it – after escaping the glade and being propelled into a whole new strange place where the world was an even bigger, scarier place than their glade and the Grievers.
“What did you see?” Minho asked when they were alone.

It was dark, everyone else was asleep and Minho had crept to his bunk and slipped into the bed beside him.

“What?” Thomas asked him, tired, confused, trying to make sense of everything that was going on.

“Ever since you jabbed that Griever needle into yourself, you’ve acted weird. You saw stuff,” Minho reminded him. “What did you see?”

“I said before,” Thomas said, lying still as Minho’s body curled up against his. “Me and Teresa, we’re the reason you’re here. I can’t make sense of it, but it was us; we did this to everyone.”

“And then yourselves,” Minho reminded him. “But that isn’t all, is it? There’s something you’re not telling me. About us.”

“I told you…why would you think ...”
Thomas felt himself becoming tense – nervous, and he knew it was because Minho was right. He did remember, more and more. The idea that he let them take Minho, run their experiments, put him in the glade for so long? The guilt was becoming heavier and heavier on his shoulders.
“You’re a terrible liar,” Minho cut him off, and Thomas shivered as warm breath skittered over the back of his neck. “I don’t remember anything from before the glade, maybe Minho isn’t my real name ...”

“It is,” Thomas said before falling silent as Minho continued.

“But ever since I got a look at you; the time we’ve spent together,” Minho sighed, pressing in closer, hand sliding around Thomas’ waist and he rested his chin on Thomas’ shoulder. “Nobody feels this way about a complete stranger. It feels normal, the most normal I’ve ever felt - like it’s from before. How can I feel the way I do about someone I don’t know, unless I knew them from before?”

“What is it your saying Minho?” Thomas asked, turning onto his back. Minho didn’t move away, instead lying close to him, hand on his chest.

“I’m saying I know you remember something about us before,” Minho said matter of factly. “I just don’t know why you’re keeping it secret.”

Thomas stared at him, swallowing down before looking away, the guilt pushing down even harder on him.

“I did this to us,” Thomas admitted quietly. “Don’t you get that? Three years in the glade Minho, don’t you understand? I didn’t stop them when they came for you. I remember more and more, and I can’t get that out of my head. They took you and I didn’t stop them, even though you begged me to help.”

“One boy against WICKED,” Minho said after a pause of silence. “What did you think you were going to do?”

“They needed me and Teresa, more than any of us,” Thomas said. “I could have stopped them, somehow; could have said I wouldn’t have helped.”

“We were just kids,” Minho reminded him again.

“We lost three years,” Thomas said sadly.

“But we still feel the way we feel,” Minho said quietly. “Guess that means something.”

“Means you need to shut up or get your own room,” Newt said loudly from the bed alongside.

Thomas and Minho grinned at one another before glancing over to where Newt lay on his side, glaring at them.

“Seriously guys, shut up or get out,” Newt said before rolling over huffily and yanked the blankets over his head.

“Come on,” Minho grinned, rolling off the bed and tugging at Thomas.

“Uh, was kinda hoping to sleep,” Thomas laughed.

“Shut up.”

“Out, out.”

“Get a room guys.”

The other boys all piped up loudly, tired of their whispering. Minho tugged Thomas away, out of the bunk room and they crept hand in hand along the corridor to another door. Minho tried it, glanced inside before tugging Thomas in behind him. It was a sort of closet, full of shelves with boxes.

“What now?” Thomas asked with a frown.

Minho turned to him, grinned and pushed him up against the door, hands framing his face as he kissed him hard on the mouth.

“Been wanting to do that again for days,” Minho smiled when they peeled apart.

Thomas rested his hands on Minho’s hips but looked at him sadly, “All this time we lost and what I did; letting them do this to us. Why would you still want to be with me?”

“Told you,” Minho reminded him. “I always felt like I was waiting for something, someone, in the glade. Maybe that’s why I became a runner? I knew it was important, and I guess maybe I thought I’d find what I was looking for in the maze. Had to wait a few years instead, but this feels right.”

Thomas had to smile, shaking his head at him, “Everything we’re going through right now and this is the conversation we’re having?”

“I’m sick of trying to figure out what is going on,” Minho sighed tiredly, resting his forehead against his. “For this moment, even if it isn’t very long, I just want to enjoy this – because who knows what is going to happen to us next?”

“I get the feeling it isn’t anything good,” Thomas said morbidly.

“Yeah,” Minho agreed softly. “Me too. Which only makes me want to enjoy this, being with you, for as long as I can.”

“I wouldn’t …” Thomas began before pausing and shuddering at memories that flashed in his mind. “I wouldn’t let them take you like last time.”

“I know,” Minho assured him. “You’ve made it pretty clear you’ve changed since that time, and even if I can’t remember who either of us were then I know you mean it now.”

Thomas pulled him closer and kissed him again, sealing the promise.

Whoever WICKED were and whatever they were planning, he was determined not to be sucked into that world again. Something deep inside told him that whatever their motto of ‘being good’ was, there was a sinister side to them, and he wanted to get as far away as possible.

And he wasn’t leaving anyone behind.

~ Fin ~
Tags: challenge: swap of joy, creation: fic
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