Thomas woke like he did any other morning.
Thomas stretched like he did any other morning.
Then Thomas rolled out of bed like he did any other morning.
This was not any other morning.
There was a yell, a thump, then an impressive string of curses. Thomas winced.
Thomas turned quickly, still wincing. Newt’s face was twisted as he tried to stay angry but failed miserably. Thomas grinned at him and offered a hand, which Newt took.
Thomas hadn’t accounted for the fact that Newt was a lot lighter than he looked. Newt barrelled into him, knocking him to the ground. Thomas supposed it served as a sort of revenge, and began laughing.
Then he stopped.
Newt, who was prone over Thomas’ body, had a decidedly odd expression on his face. His eyes were brighter than usual, and Thomas could feel him breathing hard, ribs pressing against his own. Time stood by, watching intently.
Thomas could almost hear the moment shattering. Newt scrambled up, yanking Thomas up as he did so. Gally watched them with a sneer.
“Should’a known you two had something going on.”
“Shut it, Gally.” Newt’s voice was calm. He stalked past the sneering boy with as much dignity as he could, Thomas following close behind.
The sun was barely tinting the grass outside, turning it a golden colour. The glade seemed suspended in an equilibrium between silence and peace.
Thomas noted that the wall had already opened, and turned to Newt.
“I can’t afford to not run today.”
Newt nodded mutely.
Thomas surveyed the Glade awkwardly. “You’ll have to come with me.”
There was a hollow of silence next to him. Thomas glanced at Newt, willing him to speak.
“I just can’t.”
Thomas threw his hands up in despair, the tug of the rope feeling all too familiar. “Then we’ll have to forfeit from this stupid dare, then. It’s just a game.”
Newt shook his head, jaw clenched. “We can’t. You don’t understand.”
Thomas felt a surge of rage. “Don’t I? Don’t I? Well, care to explain?”
Newt jerked backwards slightly at Thomas’ volume. People began stirring in the cabin behind them.
Thomas sighed and rubbed his nose. “Look Newt. I have to do this. I have to run. I can go slow, okay?” Thomas looked into Newt’s unreadable brown eyes. “We can go slow. Hell, you might even enjoy it.”
Newt scuffed the ground with his boot, frowning. Finally, he sighed. “Okay.”
Thomas grinned. “Okay.