How long had it been? Newt wondered. It seemed like a lifetime ago, when he was happy. Before he lost the only person that only meant anything. Meant everything.
Five years ago, a strange new virus had surfaced in Africa. Thinking nothing of it, people continued in their daily life, work, travels. The virus became more and more prevalent in central Africa, but still, no one worried. It was not mentioned by the media, not deemed important enough. So by the time it eventually reached America, no one was prepared. No one was expecting. It was the perfect, silent and slow killer.
The virus started with common cold symptoms- excessive coughing and headaches. Seemingly innocent, something that could easily be overcome with time or simple antibiotics. But by the time it was truly noticeable, it was too late. The symptoms morphed into something far more sinister. Thought processes were being altered, genetics changing, new chemicals running through the veins of the unlucky ones. They would forget who they were, what they were doing, and become mindless killing machines. The virus was eventually found to be spread in water- something that no one could avoid. But possibly the worst part of it was that some people were immune. They would watch their family members die, friends being stolen from them, and not been able to do anything about it, except watch. The survivors were considered to be the lucky ones. But all Newt saw it as was a curse. That was, until he met Thomas.
But it was all over now. The major war against the Walkers had ended, but not without making its mark. Families torn apart, friends lost. In the midst of an attack, forever ago, Newt became separated from his group. He had no one, for all the time since. Walking around aimlessly, with only a single gun with limited ammo for protection, taking shelter in abandoned houses, all the while listening to his radio, hoping- praying that one day he would be reunited with his Tommy.
Quietly, the radio had crackled to life for the first time since it had been in Newt’s possession.
“Attention. Whoever is out there. It is safe. The virus has been completely eradicated. If you can hear this, meet in the city centre in precisely a weeks time, to regroup, and see how we can salvage the situation. Thank you, and remember- you are safe now. This is Gally, signing off.”
Newt collapsed to the floor in shock, sobs wracking his body, overcome with relief. It was over. Finally. He had noticed the Walkers becoming more and more sparse as the days went on, but he never once believed that it would be over. Not ever. He had a vague idea of where he was, and with seven days to travel and mentally prepare himself for the carnage that would greet him in the city, he set off. He had stayed as far away from the city as possible, as that was where the majority of the Walkers had flocked to- it just hadn’t been safe anymore.
Six days to go. Newt was making steady progress. Trekking across an entire state was no easy feat, even with all of the muscle that he had gained over the years. Before leaving he had found a razor, shaved, and cut his hair, wanting to look at least vaguely presentable in the hope that maybe, possibly, Thomas would be waiting for him.
They had met about a month into the total virus takeover as two lonely teenage boys, each roaming around on their own, scared and confused, lost and in shock. They had formed a tentative friendship at first, using Newt’s brains and Thomas’s strength in order to gather supplies and evade the Walkers. About three months into their partnership, Thomas had kissed Newt. He mistook the shock on Newt’s face for a look of disgust and recoiled quickly.
“God, damnit Newt I’m so so sorry, I can go, damn I’m so—mmph!”
Newt had cut him off by kissing him right back. That night was the first night in months that he had felt safe.
They had travelled for at least a year by themselves before meeting the others. Minho, Alby, and Chuck were a group of boys just like them, trying desperately to survive. They had travelled together for another year before the ‘Final Battle’- as Newt liked to call it, in his head. They were completely surrounded, at least five Walkers for each of them- there was almost no way they were going to survive. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a van came screeching to a halt beside them, scattering the walkers. A girl stuck her head out of the window.
“All of you- if you want to survive, get in the damn van!”
They had all sprinted to the van, desperate to get in and away from the situation of which they were in. All apart from Newt. There was a Walker following him- moving way too fast to be normal. He kept turning around as he ran, watching in terror as it gained on him.
“Faster, shanks! Faster!” The girl had screamed.
But there was nothing he could do. There was no way he could get to the van and survive. So he stopped running. And turned around.
Five days left, he was just under half way to his destination. Closer, closer. He was almost shaking in anticipation. God, he hoped he was alive. The only thing that had got him through this past year was the tiny spark of hope, that one day it would all return to normal- he would be able to hold Thomas again.
“Newt! Newt you idiot, come on!” The sound of Thomas’s voice still haunted him. He sounded so lost, broken and desperate. Newt stood his ground, waited only seconds for the Walker to get close enough for him to get a clear shot.
As Newt took the shot and the Walker fell to the ground, the van’s engine revved up. It began to drive away.
“No!” He yelled. “Tommy! Thomas!” He felt sick as he started chasing the van again. Newt could see Thomas’s face in the back window, screaming for them to stop. But they never did. They were almost out of sight when Thomas put his hand up against the glass, a broken expression on his face. ‘I love you.’ He mouthed. And then they were gone, and that was when Newt tripped.
Four, four more days left. Half way. His leg was playing up again. Not now! He had to make it, had to see, gain closure. All he wanted was Thomas. All he had wanted this entire time was Thomas.
He had fallen off a bank, down a huge slope, only landing when it had finally evened out. He lay there breathing heavily for several minutes before attempting to stand up. Only then did he realise the excruciating pain in his left knee.
Newt couldn’t stand for three days, he moved by dragging his body over the uneven ground. By the fourth day, he had fashioned himself some makeshift crutches, and was able to finally walk again, without putting any pressure onto his leg. It had taken a month for him to be fully comfortable walking without the crutches, and even now it hurt after walking long distances. But he had to keep going. For himself. For Tommy.
Three days. God, it was so close, but so far away. When the clouds cleared he thought he could see the looming shadows of the city skyscrapers up ahead, but then the clouds came back and he could never be sure.
Two more days. Today he could definitely see the tall, intimidating structures of the city, and it made his little spark of hope shine a little brighter. His knee was about to collapse, but he couldn’t rest for any longer, not if he wanted to make it to the city by tomorrow.
Tomorrow. Newt felt absolutely sick to his stomach. How… What could he say, even if Thomas was alive? Had he moved on, found another boy? Or that girl who shouted at them out of the van, what about her? He began to hyperventilate, so worried now. His knee had started giving way every hour or so, so he grabbed his old crutches from where he had strapped them onto his back. Determined, he pushed on, stopping only briefly to drink some water or rest for awhile. Just as night began to fall, he reached the city walls. An unknown man greeted him.
“First name?” He asked in a monotonous voice, head bent down and reading off of his clipboard.
“Uh, Newt.” He stammered, his exhaustion and nerves playing up together. Thomas, Tommy could be just behind these walls!
“Is that your real first name?” The man looked up finally.
“No- No sir, that would be Isaac, but everyone calls me… used to call me Newt so I thought—“ He was cut off.
“Newt it is then.” The man peeled the newly made name tag off of his clipboard and stuck it on top of the pocket of Newt’s newly acquired polo shirt.
“Thank you.” Newt said, distracted by the sights behind the gate. About four hundred people or so filled the square, all attempting to crowd to the front, trying to listen to the speech being made by a man on stage on the far side, broadcasted on a huge screen.
Alby. Newt would recognise him anywhere. He scanned the stage, but could not make out the faces of the others standing on it. Silently thanking someone for his lean frame, he ducked in and out off the crowd, making his way to the front with an anxious determination. Another man stepped up to the microphone. He was tall, masculine yet young… Chuck! Newt realised with a start. How he had grown. His heart began to race as he got closer and closer to the stage. Suddenly, he was there.
Thomas, he was there. Oh god, Newt thought. He was beautiful. He had almost forgotten, after all of this time. He weaved his way to the side of the stage, where two burly looking guards were blocking the stairway. He made a futile attempt to push past them, only to be held back by the larger of the two men, one he had never seen before.
“Please, please let me, I need to, he needs to, please!” He gasped out, out of breath and filled with an energy he hadn’t felt in over a year.
“No, now I’m sorry buddy, no one allowed while speeches are being made by the—“ The guard was interrupted by the other.
“Gally, stop— wait, Newt— is that you?!” Minho asked incredulously. “Oh, wow, we thought, Thomas thought…” He trailed off as he pulled Newt into a hug, which he immediately relaxed into.
“Please Minho, I have time for talking later, just please, please let me up there, let me talk to him. I can’t.. I can’t wait any longer.”
Minho sighed. "Someone is going to hate me for this.” And he stepped aside. Gally made sounds of protest, but Newt ignored him completely as he set his eyes on Thomas once again. Closer up, Newt could see that he wasn’t perfect looking- he looked as if he had permanent circles under his eyes, his stubble was a little too long, and his hair was longer and uncombed. But he still looked gorgeous to him. Newt stepped onto the stage.
“Tommy.” He spoke out tentatively. Thomas looked his way and did a double take.
“Newt— Newt oh, oh my god, I’m dreaming, tell me I’m dreaming, please, no, please be real!” He took a slow step towards Newt, who took a step closer to him. Thomas reached out a had and touched his face, and that was the only invitation Newt needed to grab Thomas’s top and pull him towards himself, crushing the other boy’s mouth with his own. He vaguely registered the sounds of Chuck’s speech stopping, and catcalls and cheers from the crowd, but nothing mattered apart from Thomas. His Tommy, who was still alive, still well, still loved h—
Newt pulled back. “Tommy, Tommy god damn it- I never had the chance to say it before, and I’m so sorry, and I have regretted not saying it for so long- I love you Tommy, I love you so much, and this past year has killed me, and I was so worried you were dead, or wouldn’t want me anymore- please, never ever leave me again.” The audience was silent as Thomas smiled.
“Newt, I have loved you since the day I met you. I will never stop loving you.” And with that he scooped up Newts legs and wrapped them around his waist, rejoining their mouths and kissing him like his life depended on it.
And that night, lying in bed with the man he loved, was the happiest night of his life. He had finally found his safety.