Gally had a time keeping the other Gladers out. The moment Jeff had found Nick and spoke of a girl the news had spread faster than a wildfire and everyone but the runners had swarmed the Homestead hoping to see. He'd only let three guys through; Jeff, who was in a rush to get back and see if Clint needed help, Nick, who'd taken Jeff's hurry as worry and barely told the guys to get back to work before disappearing in the building, and Newt who'd been told to come up and tell them what'd happened.

"Get back," Gally warned them, hearing their groans of refusal as they gathered around wanting to go in.

"Is it really a girl?" one Glader asked.

"What's she look like?"

"I call dibs on her."

"Why do you get dibs?" another cried.

"We can share her, ya klunkhead."

And on and on it went, their voices rising in volume, their bodies pushing closer forming a circle around him as he barred the door; and Gally quickly had enough – he found her and he wasn't about to let any of these shuck-faces near her. The first boy to step into the circle created around Gally was shoved violently back, knocking down the Gladers who'd been behind him. "If any of you slintheads try it again I'll throw you to the shuckin' Grievers myself," he yelled.

His threat stilled the group, for a moment. Gally was tall and broad-shouldered, and mean – but he stood with his arms crossed waiting for someone else to step closer so he could shove them again, and maybe he really would give them to the Grievers. Either way it kept them back, but it didn't keep them quiet. They started throwing insults at Gally, asking if he was calling dibs.

But they fell silent when Alby stepped forward, neither him nor Gally being particularly close, and they watched him move to the place beside Gally as he too guarded the door. Alby was shorter than Gally but his shoulders were thick and his face was stern. "Don't you shucks have work to do?" he asked them calmly; it the still way he stood there glaring at them all that had them shuffling back to work – talking amongst themselves about who the girl was and what she was doing there.

When they'd all reluctantly gone Alby turned to Gally. "She didn't really ride in on a Griever, did she?"

Gally's neck twinged at how fast he turned to the other boy. "What kind of klunk is that?" he asked, wondering who'd started that rumor so he could punch him in his shuck face.

Newt stood beside Nick watching Clint stitch her head; it wasn't professional, it probably wasn't even sanitary, but it'd get the job done. "Gally found her," he said. "When I got there she was laying on the ground."

"Did she really come from the maze?" Nick asked him quietly, unable to wrap his head around how that possible, and even more how she'd navigated it to find her way to the Glade.

It really did seem impossible, and Newt wouldn't have believed it himself if he hadn't found the proof. "There's blood from her head on the wall," he answered, watching Jeff check the rest of her over while Clint fixed her head – seeing him pause at her arm and whisper something to the other Med-jack. "Gally took this from her pocket," he said handing the crinkled paper to Nick so he could read it.

"What does this buggin' mean?"

Clint and Jeff looked up curiously. "What is it?"

Nick shook his head irritably knowing a girl showing up, from the maze no less, meant trouble. "It says keep her safe. Keep her safe from what?"

The two Med-jacks shared a look before glancing back down at the girl. "Maybe the place she came from," Jeff answered earning himself a sharp look from Nick and a confused one from Newt. "Take a look at this," he said holding out her arm, the sleeve of the sweater pushed up to reveal her slender wrist and the dark bruise that encircled it.

"This one's the same," Clint said pulling up the sleeve on her other arm to show the same bruise on that wrist.

Nick stepped forward and looked closely at her, taking in her unnaturally pale skin, her gaunt face, and the bruises. "She's small," he said, noticing the sweater seemed to engulf her shoulders.

Jeff nodded unhappily. "Whoever's been taking care of her hasn't been feeding her well. I mean look at her skin, I don't think she's been outside in a while – which I guess makes sense since she's in a hospital gown. But these," he held up her arm, "came from being tied to a bed."

Newt suddenly found it hard to look at the girl lying unconscious on the bed, as though he was invading whatever privacy she had by looking at the bruises on her arms – and there were others, small little pricks from a needle. Someone had been injecting her with something, Clint guessed sedative and Jeff didn't shucking know. He didn't know what to do anymore, he'd been so curious to see her – to stare at her pretty face because he couldn't remember the last girl he'd seen. But he didn't want to look at her anymore, to see the barely breathing shell of a once lovely girl.

"Tell the Keepers I'm calling a Gathering when Minho gets back," Nick told Newt turning from the girl, not knowing what he was supposed to do with her.

He nodded almost relieved to have an excuse to leave her, though the moment he opened the door he looked back to where she still lay – he found himself caught between wanting to leave and a strange need to stay, as if the moment he closed the door behind him she'd disappear.

"Do I need to shuckin' say it again?" Nick demanded, his teeth were set on edge by the change of events; her being here couldn't be good, and he had no way of knowing if what she needed to be kept safe from was going to come looking for her. But he stood there with his hands balled into fists not understanding why he felt the need to protect her – whether it was the plea on the paper or seeing the obvious signs of mistreatment, and she really was very small. "Lift up the dress," he said after Newt left, making both Med-jacks turn to him startled by the request. "I need to see how bad it is."

All three boys were seeing for the first time a girl naked, something they could only dream of because no one could remember a girl they'd known – but it was lost on them as they stared at the pitiful expanse of her abdomen. Her skin stretched over the bone of her ribs before shrinking at her stomach, only to have to stretch over her hips; it looked like someone had hung skin on a skeleton. It was revolting, sickening, almost painful to look at.

Nick didn't realize he'd given up the thoughts of sending her back until he stood at the Gathering with the other Keepers telling them everything he knew, save Gally who stood guarding the door to the Homestead refusing to leave – not until Minho suggested sending her back in the maze, using her to find the way out or offering her up as bait if something came looking for her. Before Minho had even finished speaking Nick had already decided she would remain with them under their protection.

Jeff had spoken up next in her defense. "Someone hit her head buggin' hard, if she even remembers where she was or how she got here she probably couldn't see well. You can show her the map room when she wakes up but unless you plan on carrying this shank through the maze she's not strong enough to go."

"The she-bean made it here, didn't she?" Minho demanded not willing to be told no, not when she proved the way out was in the maze.

"Yeah, nothing short of a shucking miracle," Jeff yelled in answer. "It'll be at least a month before she could even run around the Glade."

"Slim it, both of you," Nick told them harshly silencing them. "Jeff's right, she's in bad shape; we'll show her the map room when she wakes up, see if she remembers anything. The more important question is what do we do tonight because we have Gladers who wanna sleep and the shank everyone wants to see upstairs. And we still don't shuckin' know if anyone's gonna look for her. Newt what d'you think?" he asked turning Newt's head in surprise. "You and Gally found her, Gally's not here; what do you think we should do?"

Newt stood cursing Gally for not being there since he was the one who found her, and he cursed Nick too for leaving the decision on him – no one knew what to do, not even their leader, and now it was suddenly all on his shoulders. He shrugged before answering; "Tell 'em upstairs is restricted, have Gally guard the door and Jeff and Clint inside if he tries something."

It was as good a plan as any and Nick nodded. "Good that," he told them. "Minho, you volunteered yourself to gather up Baggers in case anything happens tonight, tell them they'll have the day off tomorrow," he said seeing Minho's ready refusal. "If she wakes up tomorrow I want you here to show her the map."

Minho reluctantly nodded, wanting himself to be here because she was their only way out. "Good that," he agreed finally.

Nick turned Jeff. "I wanna know the second she wakes up, and send for Newt too," he said, turning Newt's head at being yet again volunteered for something without being asked. "It might be easier to get through her shuck head if she recognizes you or Gally."

Newt shrugged though he wanted to be there to see what the new Greenie was made of, wanting as much as everyone else to just look at her. But he wanted to see her awake, to know what color her eyes were, to hear the sound of her voice – as far as he could remember he'd never seen anyone prettier, even if she was starved and bruised. And after leaving her a few hours before, he wanted to see her again.

Newt had barely started eating breakfast when Minho ran to him looking for Nick. "She's awake?" he asked forgetting the food he'd been about to eat as he climbed to his feet.

"Yeah," Minho said nodding urgently. "Find him and tell him to come quick, she got Clint's face. She-bean scratched the shuck outta him," he said almost looking impressed. And he would've been if he hadn't heard her almost inhuman scream when she'd woken to Clint's unfamiliar face. "I'm telling you now, that shank's jacked. Better get back, see if Gally's having trouble holding her down. Find Nick."

Newt watched him lope back to the Homestead hesitating several moments as he forced himself to look for Nick, wanting nothing more than follow after Minho and see the girl for himself. 'She-bean' it was rather fitting for their first girl; she wasn't exactly a Greenbean, she didn't come through the box. But where she came from didn't seem to matter, at least not at the moment; she was awake.


Thank you so so much to everyone who's followed and favorited the story, and to the few who already reviewed - it all really means a lot to me. As you guys can probably tell this is before Thomas came, she's quite a few months before he comes - and Nick was the leader before Chuck was there. That being said, I probably won't get to the explanation of where she comes from for a while, but I hope by next chapter there will be enough subtle hints that it's easy to piece together a lot of it. Anyways, I hope you shuck-faces enjoyed this chapter, thanks for reading it.