The siren rang out like it always did, but the commotion surrounding it ground to a halt when the doors swung open and the new Greenie was revealed. Another girl? Emily couldn't help the pang of jealousy she felt when the beautiful brunette was lifted from the box and Thomas's name fell from her lips. She had no claim over Thomas – they were very close now, and she knew he'd had feelings for her, but her heart still belonged to Minho. Which seemed like a particularly poor choice as of late.
The normal feast that usually followed the arrival was forgotten. The note the Greenie carried – that she was the last one – and her unconscious state had everyone one edge. The disruption, coupled with their spat the night before, had turned a usually irritable Minho downright cranky. He skulked off to another never-ending council meeting – probably to discuss the unusual turn of events.
Thomas found Emily sitting against a tree trunk picking around at her dinner plate, and plopped down beside her. "So, first day as a runner-in-training tomorrow. Got any tips?"
She nearly dropped her plate and her eyes got comically large. "They're letting you try out? Why didn't you tell me!"
Thomas shrugged, feigning ignorance. He was naturally fast, but more than that, he had convinced Newt that Emily needed a sub. They could all see that she was hanging on by a thread; Alby figured she could decide for herself when she'd had enough, but Newt knew her better. He was an impeccable listener, and, where Emily tended to repress her emotions, Thomas needed to air his out. And most of them were about Emily and her stubbornness and irrational unwillingness to let Minho go. So he and Newt had begun to meet regularly for these "therapy" sessions, though Thomas learned a lot about Newt in the process as well.
Newt had given him the go-ahead, but Minho still had the final say. He hoped that once he saw that Thomas could keep pace with the best of them, and that this was what was best for Emily – who he was certain Minho still cared about – he'd put aside his personal vendetta and do what was best for the Glade. "I guess it was my winning personality," Thomas said with pride, waggling his eyebrows. Usually this would have at least elicited a pity chuckle. "Do you think I'll be running with Minho?" he asked, both hoping to take her place and slightly terrified.
"It would be me and Minho," she corrected and Thomas grimaced, "and I'd throw him to the grievers myself if he let you run with anyone else." She was missing the point, and though her words sounded fierce, she seemed distracted and disengaged.
"How about the new girl?" he began a new line of questioning, hoping to get some sort of reaction out of her. The one he got was different than the one he'd expected.
She scowled and popped a fork full of mystery meat into her mouth. "What about her?" Her normally intelligent and thought-out words were laced with a childish petulance.
Thomas was thrilled that she was finally eating. "I don't know – why do you think she's here? What did her note mean?" He began to list off the questions that had been running through his mind.
"Why does she seem to know who you are?" Emily added. Thomas broke into a knowing grin. "What? What is that? Why are you smiling?" She gestured at him with her fork.
"You're jealous," he concluded. Her only response was to shovel more food in her face until she looked like a chipmunk with a cheek full of nuts. "Don't worry," Thomas assured her, trying to embarrass her enough to keep eating, but not enough to set her off. "She's not as pretty as you." He leaned over to nudge her shoulder, but was surprised to find her plate abandoned as she scurried toward the woods.
He followed after, thinking he'd upset her again needed to apologize… again. When she leaned over and threw up the contents of her stomach, he realized she probably hadn't even heard his compliment. He pulled her hair back and rubbed small circles on her back as she retched again, bracing herself against a tree for support.
When she was finished, she swiped a hand across her mouth and retreated from Thomas's comforting touch. Thomas sighed, though he was used to her reactions, and made the necessary suggestion that had caused their biggest fight several weeks ago. "Let me take you to see the Med Jacks."
"I'm fine," she insisted, narrowing her eyes and preparing for a fight. Thomas sincerely doubted that. She began to walk away and he grabbed her arm; she flinched.
He immediately released her, remembering the last time someone had grabbed her like that. "Emily –"
"I'm fine, Thomas. Just… forget about it." There was something wrong with her, but she hid it from everyone and refused to deal with whatever it was herself. She practically stumbled away from him – not to join him in his hammock that night – and he thought there was no way she should be running tomorrow. At least now he had a bargaining chip.
Just before the sun's first rays painted the sky, Thomas was surprised to see Emily stretching, preparing to run the Maze. She and Minho were about to sprint through the gate, even while the rest of the Gladers were teetering in, still half-asleep, to fix their breakfasts. Thomas pulled her to the side.
"Should you really be running today? I mean, after…" Thomas didn't know how much Minho knew, or how much she wanted him to know, so he didn't finish his sentence.
"I'm fine," she replied automatically, as if that was her pre-programmed response to any question.
Even if Minho didn't know the specifics, he'd been with her for years. He had to know something was off with her. "Minho – tell her she's –"
"You said you're fine, right?" Minho cut him off, eager to discount and overrule Thomas at any turn. Emily nodded, a little too emphatically. "See, she's fine. Now quit moving your lips and start moving those legs!"
They hadn't gone more than an hour or so before Thomas started noticing Emily's troubling symptoms. She was sweating more than usual, breathing harder, and her usually pale skin looked an unearthly shade of white. Was it like this every day? And if so, Minho either hadn't noticed, or worse, had noticed and forced her to do it anyway.
She had begun to trip over her own feet – which hadn't escaped the notice of either boy – but neither Emily nor Minho would ever admit that Thomas was right and she should have stayed back in the Glade.
"Maybe we should stop for a few minutes. Take a break," Thomas suggested.
"Hasn't been that long. I'm fine," Minho stated, as if challenging Emily to admit her weakness, her need. He knew she never would, and smiled smugly when she shook her head.
"I'm fine. Let's keep going," she managed between deep gulps of air.
"See? Said she's fine."
"She is most definitely not fine," Thomas muttered, but Minho had already started off down the next corridor. Emily wasn't recovering – Thomas could see her rapid pulse flutter against the slick skin of her neck. She stumbled back so that her shoulders were resting against the cool concrete walls of the Maze.
"Thom –" she began, eyelids drooping as she started to slide down the wall.
"Minho!" Thomas yelled, and the panic in his voice was enough to bring back the other agitated runner.
When Minho came around the corner, his eyes widened and, out of instinct, began to scan the area for threats. "What happened?" he asked, almost accusing, as he knelt down beside them.
"What happened is she never should have been out here running in the first place!" Thomas shot back. She was still awfully pale, but her heart had begun to slow and her breathing was returning to normal. "I think she passed out."
"She fainted?" Minho asked, incredulous. "Why?"
"I don't know. Dehydration? She hasn't been able to keep anything down for days," Thomas reasoned.
She hadn't? Why hadn't Minho realized that? Shit, this was his fault. "We've gotta get her to the Med Jacks."
"You think?" Thomas replied, words dripping with sarcasm. He'd already started trying to lift her up; his long, lanky frame made him an excellent runner, but his brute strength left something to be desired. Minho pushed him out of the way and easily lifted her into his arms. He wondered why Thomas was struggling so much – she felt feather light to him.
They made it back to the Glade quickly, but were still concerned as to why she hadn't yet woken up. The early return of the runners sent a stir through the Gladers.
"What happened?" Alby demanded, jogging to keep up with Minho's quick beeline to the infirmary.
Thomas answered, since Minho wasn't paying attention to anyone but the girl draped in his arms. "We were running. She was looking pretty tired, so we stopped to take a break. Then she just… blacked out."
"So there were no… issues between the three of you?" Alby asked, skeptical. Thomas vehemently shook his head. Though it wasn't entirely true, Alby seemed to accept his answer as the whole crowd entered the infirmary. "Alright, get her on the bed. I'll go get Clint and Jeff."
Minho was way ahead of him. He gingerly placed her body down and brushed the sweat-soaked strands of hair from her forehead, placing a tender kiss on her temple. "I'm sorry," he whispered, quiet enough that only Thomas was close enough to hear the admission.
Clint and Jeff rushed in, pushing everyone else out of the way, which probably would have earned them each a black eye from Minho if Newt hadn't put a restraining hand on his shoulder. They set to work timing her pulse, lifting her eyelids and checking pupil dilation, elevating her legs, and putting a cold cloth behind her neck.
The minutes ticked by and the silence was wearing on Minho. "Well? Why hasn't she woken up yet?" he growled.
"I think she's going to be okay," Clint concluded, unfazed by the Minho's terseness – he was probably used to it. "She might be getting sick; her body was probably just exhausted and malnourished."
Minho pinched the bridge of his nose between his fingers. "When will she wake up," he said each word slowly, trying to sound calmer than he was.
"I don't know. The mind is a powerful thing – she wasn't getting enough rest, so her brain shut itself down and forced her to rest." Clint rubbed his chin, deep in thought. "I suspect she'll wake up when she's had enough." He shrugged, and Minho stormed out of the infirmary, clearly unhappy with the vague diagnosis.
The crowd dissipated quickly after that, but Thomas lingered. He knew Minho wouldn't admit anything could be wrong, but he had to tell Clint about her other symptoms. "Clint," Thomas whispered, beckoning the boy over. "I think… I think it's more than just exhaustion."
Clint frowned. "Why? Did I miss something?"
"No, no. Not exactly. It's just – they're both so damn stubborn, neither of them will admit that something's wrong!" he sighed in exasperation.
"Thomas –" Clint grabbed his arm and waited for Thomas to look him in the eye. "What do you know?"
Thomas blew out a breath and ran his fingers through his hair. "Well, you're right – she's been tired. All the time. But she also –" he hesitated, aware that these were not his secrets to tell. Clint raised his eyebrows, waiting. Thomas took a deep breath. "She can't seem to eat anything without throwing it back up. Her moods change so quickly that I can't even keep up with them all! And she just doesn't sleep, but when does, there's these really weird and vivid nightmares –" he stopped himself there, not wanting to go into details about them.
Clint didn't seem to notice his abrupt cutoff. "How long?" he asked, eyes distant as his mind combed through the medical database that was somehow magically stored in his brain.
"A few weeks?" Thomas answered, though it came out more like a question. He could only account for the week or so since she'd been staying with him, but he suspected that it had been happening since before he even came up in the box, and only now it had become so bad that she was no longer able to hide it.
Clint's eyes widened as an idea occurred to him. He walked over to Emily and scrutinized her more carefully. He sat down on the bed next to her and Thomas watched in fascination as he lifted the bottom of her shirt and pressed his fingers into her lower abdomen. When his breathing hitched, Thomas knew he'd found something.
"What? Clint, what is it?" Thomas joined him on the other side of her bed.
"I think, well, if I had to guess, I might say…" he was stammering.
"She's pregnant," he finished, and the word lingered in the stunned silence that followed.
"You're sure?" Thomas insisted, barely able to fathom the implications of having a baby in such a horrible place.
"Honestly, I don't know how we could have missed it. She's gotta be out of her first trimester. Four months, maybe?" he continued, more to himself than anyone else. Thomas knit his brows in confusion; he didn't know as much about pregnancy as the Med Jack seemed to. Clint pointed at her stomach. "Look – she's already showing."
Thomas looked closer at the girl he'd come to think of as his best friend. There was an almost imperceptible bump rising between her hip bones. It looked slightly out of place on her petite frame, and Thomas thought that all it took was a Greenie feast for him to look more pregnant than that. But Clint seemed sure.
They both stared at her for a few long minutes before Clint got up and started for the door. "Where are you going?" Thomas asked.
Clint sighed and rubbed a hand along his face. "To tell Alby. He should know."
Thomas leapt up and grabbed his arm. "No! You can't. At least… not yet." His eyes darted back and forth between Clint and the unconscious girl on the bed. "Please, Clint." He willed the other boy to listen to him. "At least tell her before letting the whole damn Glade know."
His innocent puppy dog eyes got through to the veteran Glader. "Fine. But the minute she wakes up, she knows, then Alby, then whoever else finds out, finds out."
"What about Minho?" Thomas thought the father shouldn't have to find out at the same time as everyone else.
Clint frowned with a mixture of sympathy and sadness. "That's up to her," he said before exiting the infirmary.
Thomas couldn't imagine why Emily wouldn't tell Minho about the baby, but their relationship was tumultuous at best, bordering on unhealthy. Still, when it came down to it, they would do anything for each other, and he figured now would be no different.