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The Fever Code: Chapter 62

231.12.31 | 11:24 p.m.

Finally the time had come.

Thomas had exhausted himself preparing for it.

He knew as much about Grievers as possible, including their weaknesses and power sources. If he combined that with what he knew from building the maze and how the Griever hatch worked, he felt good about the possibility of facing one down and coming out alive. With Teresa’s help, he’d gotten the codes to a weapons cache very close to the entrance to the maze, from which they and the Gladers would escape. They’d found an Alaskan town where they could seek asylum, only thirty miles from the WICKED complex. Aris and Rachel did know about the plan, but they wouldn’t try anything until Thomas and Teresa came to their maze to get them. Everything had fallen into place. Mainly there was the waiting. Nothing could happen until they were in the maze and could gather supporters among their old friends.

And that time had finally come.

Thomas sat on his bed, leaning back against the headboard. Teresa sat in the desk chair, which she’d pulled up next to the bed. She leaned toward him, her face only a couple of feet away. They’d been talking for hours, ever since getting back from dinner. It was the first time they’d done something like this since before the Purge.

“You swear you’re not going to chicken out?” Thomas asked. “And you won’t let them change their minds about the Swipe?”

“You just broke our streak, dummy.”

They’d sworn not to talk about the escape plan, at least for one night. And they’d mostly succeeded. Remembering their childhoods, laughing about some of the times they’d had with Newt and everyone else, philosophizing about the world’s future. They even talked about space, about science, about history. Weird things like famous conspiracy theories. The big wars. What life had once been like. They talked and talked and talked.

Until Thomas had ruined it and brought them back to reality.

“Yeah, I know,” he said. “I ran out of stuff.”

“Well, I swear on the life of everyone I’ve ever loved that I’ll be in the Glade, with you, twenty-four hours after you’re inserted, just like we drew it up—memories intact. Okay? I promise.”

“Pinky promise?”

She sat back. “Now hold on. That’s some serious stuff right there.”

He held out his pinky. She wrapped her own around it and they shook.

“Phew,” he said. “Now I feel better.”

She still hadn’t let go of his finger. Their hands had come down to rest on the mattress of the bed. “Sometimes I forget what a sweet dork you can be. I wish you’d let this side of you come out more.”

“My sweet dork side? I didn’t know I had such a thing. But I guess I’ll take that as a compliment?”

Yes, you should take it as a compliment.” She let go but moved the chair up until she was right next to him. “I know I’ve been a dud for months now.”

“Nah,” Thomas replied, but even he couldn’t make it very convincing.

She laughed. “It’s just…there’s still a part of me that thinks a cure is possible. Don’t you feel that way? At least a little?”

“Yeah, of course I do.” He felt a little ashamed at the rebuke. “But there has to be another way. All I know is that if they have to achieve it by torturing my friends, then it’s not right.”

“And things seem like they’ll only get worse,” she said.

Thomas suddenly felt a swell of elation. He sat up, swinging his legs over the side of the bed to rest his feet on the floor. He faced her, his left leg pressed against hers.

“It’s weird,” he said. “In a way, I’m excited. I think it’s more like relief. I’ve gotten so sick of the waiting, the waiting, the waiting. Now it’s finally here, past the point of no return. All I can do now is…get into the Glade and make something happen. Sound nuts?”

“Nope. I feel the same way.” She smiled, then moved to actually sit next to him on the bed. She pulled him into a hug, resting her head on his shoulder. “You mean the world to me,” she said.

Everything hit Thomas at once. A surge of emotion filled his chest and burned there like a thousand flames. All the years, all the memories, all the hard times, and all the good. He broke into a sob, releasing all of it, his body trembling. She held him tighter, crying herself. And there they sat, for several minutes, letting it all out. Though laden with sadness, it also felt good. Exhilarating. He burned with something closer to joy than he’d ever felt before.

“Tell me that we’ll survive this,” he said when he could finally get the words out. “Tell me that we’ll get in there, and get our friends out.”

“We will survive,” she replied. She brought up her hands and held his face, looking into his eyes. “I promise.”

He nodded, not sure he could say one more thing. They wrapped themselves up in each other’s arms and pulled their feet up onto the bed, lying down together. They stayed that way through the night, until morning came and the maze beckoned.


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