AN: Takes place a year or so after The Death Cure. Spoilers beware.
He was floating, deep in a pool of cool turquoise water. Peaceful, so very quiet, soothing. He could feel the water flowing over his bare skin, caressing him, protecting him, and from way down deep, he heard their voices.
It was muffled, as if he had cotton in his ears, and he wanted to sleep but their voices were waking him up, gently, his mind swimming into consciousness.
His...memories, were trying to piece themselves together but it was like looking at a slideshow where someone had scrambled all the pictures. Young men, young women; sometimes smiling at him, sometimes angry, sometimes so afraid. He wanted to help them but... he didn't know who they were, as if he was looking at snapshots of someone else's life. Something had happened, something horrible, but he didn't...know what it was or what part he had played in it.
Nothing felt familiar and it frightened him a little, enough that he wanted to awaken, wanted to find out what was happening to him.
He tried to breathe as he woke up and instead of the light touch of air, he felt the heaviness of water inside him, in his lungs. He couldn't breathe!
Eyes flying open in panic, he found himself lying underwater, looking up through the turquoise water to a dark ceiling. He immediately sat up, surfacing with a gush of water that splashed and sloshed against the glass sides of the tub he was in. He barely had a chance to take in his surroundings, his body bathed in the darkness and the lower artificial light, before he was bent over the side of the tub, coughing and choking, his body shuttering as it kicked the water from his oxygen starved lungs.
His hair was long, long enough to get in his face, and it was a light color, blonde. It stuck wetly to the sides of his face, bothering him as he expelled the invasive fluid from his lungs, until he felt gentle hands, a woman's hands in latex gloves, carefully gather the blonde strands and hold them kindly bunched behind his head, relieving him as he coughed.
“That's it, easy now,” The woman soothed, and she sounded happy, thrilled even, that he was coughing his lungs out, “Just get it all out.”
Coughing until he could breathe, he took in a trembling breath and then another, soon gulping air as if he'd couldn't get enough of it. Eventually his lungs stopped demanding so much air and he slowly began to settle. Breathing became easier and a soft cloth was passed over his lips and chin, cleaning him up and making him feel more comfortable.
Then his chin was grasped, tenderly by a man's larger, warm hand, as if he was a precious keepsake made of the finest glass. He was guided to look up and he saw two people, a man and a woman. They were both wearing surgical masks, dark green scrubs and latex gloves, and they were crouched by the tub, as if they'd been waiting for him.
“I'm going to check your eyes,” the man said, his voice calm and comforting, “There will be a brief light but try to keep your eyes open.”
The man flicked a small pen light on, shining it in his eyes, first the right, then the left and it hurt a bit but he kept his eyes open like the man asked him to. His eyes dilated and for a moment after the light was gone there was an after image, making him blink a few times. The man put the light away and let go of his chin.
“What is your name?” The man asked kindly, his tone of voice saying that if only he could get the right answer he'd pass the test.
He thought, searched his mind for a name, his name. What was it? Something, something familiar, floated to the surface and he parted his lips.
“Newt,” he said, “My name's Newt.”