From Truce to Peace

231.03.18 | 8:42 p.m.

The minute Newt showed up with Kat several boys tossed burning torches into a big pile of wood. It was dry and caught fire easily. The boys cheered, drums pounded and music set in.

Most boys stood in groups, talking and laughing. Some performed dancing moves. Two Gladers were locked in a wrestling match, which attracted some spectators.

There she stood now, all on her own, and did not know what to do. She could be loud and bossy, or she could be curious and investigative. She could be a lot of things, but she'd never feel at home in large groups. All the more when she knew next to nobody. She didn't want to cling to Newt, just because he was the only one she dared to talk to at all. With her arms crossed and her angriest scowl she leaned against a tree trunk, trying to hide how shy and uneasy she felt. Would anybody notice if she stole away now? Her throat tightened, and she felt tears welling up again. She clenched her teeth. Never show any weakness!

She let herself slowly slide down to the ground and shivered. From behind there appeared a blanket around her shoulders. She spun round.

Newt raised his hands in a both defensive and calming manner. “Don't get angry again. I was just being kind.”

Suddenly her inner tension dissolved, and she smiled. “Thank you.”

For a while he stood beside her and stared in the flames.

Eventually he said: “Would you mind if I...” just as she said: “Won't you sit...”

They both laughed a shy and nervous little laughter, and Newt settled at her side. A long silence filled the space between them, but it was a truceful silence.

It was broken by a very quiet: “I am not always a beast. I mean sorry. You are kind.”

“But you are not a beast!”, Newt protested.

“I was, and I am full sorry. You don't deserve to be treated like that.”

“I think you were frightened.” Newt handed her a jar with a goldish liquid. “Look, I brought you a drink.”

“What's that?”

“Gally's brew. Try it.”

Kat sniffed suspiciously, took a small sip and shook herself. “What the hell do you brew up here?”

Newt laughed, and took the jar from her hand. “I have no idea.” He took a mouthful and offered it back to her.

She scowled again, until she realized that he did not make fun of her. With a grin she took the jar and drank, too.

So, what are you doing all day, when you are not watching over me? Everyone around here's working on their jobs. All but you.”

He gave her an odd look. “I'm a Runner.”

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