Chapter 12: Fight it Out
It was closing in on noon as I walked back to Dally's room from the vending machine, a bag of chips open in my hands. I turned a corner and nearly ran into Two-Bit and Ponyboy as they came from the front entrance. I gave them a smile.
"Hey, guys. What's up?" I said and Two-Bit swiped my chip bag and snatched some.
"Came to see Johnny and Dallas." He said around a mouthful of food. I rolled my eyes, but a sense of panic struck me in the chest, and I didn't know what to say. So I settled for nodding and stealing back my chips.
"Great. I'm gonna go sit with Dally. I'll see you guys later." They called out a goodbye as I turned the last corner to Dally's room and pushed the door open.
"I thought those chips were for me." I froze with a handful of crumbs halfway to my mouth. Dally was sitting up in the bed, looking livid. I gave him a guilty look and backed up to the door.
"I'll just go get more..." He sneered and would have said something if I hadn't walked out at that moment.
Dally didn't like hospitals anymore than I did. Only different was I just got jittery. Dally got moody.
I made a quick run to the closest vending machine and got Dally another bag of chips. On the first trip I hadn't been hungry until I had the chips in my hand and was walking back.
"Here." I tossed the bag of chips at him as I took up residence in the chair beside the bed. It might as well be my chair for all the time I'd been spending in it the past couple of hours.
"These are the worst chips I've ever had." He crushed the bag and tossed it across the room at the trash can. I rolled my eyes and finished off the bag of chips in my hand.
"You're so picky, Dally. They're from a vending machine in a hospital, they aren't supposed to be good." I got up and tossed the bag into the trash. Something hit my back and I turned to see the gown the hospital had put him in was now lying on the floor at my feet. I looked up to see Dally lying back down in the bed in only his underwear.
"What are you doing?" I asked as I bent down to pick up the gown. I walked over and sat down on the edge of the bed, pushing it back at him. "Put it back on."
"No. I hate those things. They're ugly as hell and-" The door opened and a nurse came in. She stopped for a second when she saw the gown in my hand. I couldn't help but think that this probably looked bad from where she was standing, so I stood up quickly and tossed the gown in the trash before leaving the room.
I stood by the door, waiting for the nurse to leave when Ponyboy and Two-Bit came walking down the hall. Two-Bit looked like he wanted to hit something.
"What's wrong, Two-Bit?" I asked as we stood outside for a moment.
"Johnny's mum is here." He said. "Johnny didn't want to see her and she's snapping about doing so much for him yet she can't go in. Someday I'm gonna snap her in half. She hasn't done a damn thing for him! She might as well have been the one to put him in the hospital for all she's done. Not to mention that she blames us for all of this." I rolled my eyes. I'd met Johnny's mother once and the encounter ended when I punched her in the jaw. Dally and Steve had been around at the time and had dragged me away while I cussed at her. We hadn't had a confrontation since, because none of the guys let me go around Johnny's house without them. Plus it was normally to get Johnny and I didn't want to have him see me hit his mother – or father for that matter.
"Yea well, if she tries to see him again when he doesn't want her around, I'll run her out of this town." I snapped in annoyance. I hated Johnny's mother with a passion, and if I could finally get her out of Johnny's life, I'd be happy. Only thing was, Johnny might leave her life before she could leave his.
I shook my head to get the thought out of my head and reached for the door handle. "Come on, Dally needs someone new to talk to before he chews my head off." Two-Bit chuckled a little as we walked in. I groaned inwardly as I saw Dally lying on his bed, arguing with the nurse who stood beside the bed. She was holding a bottle of something in her hand, and as we came in, she seemed to have given up and set the bottle down. Dally turned and grinned at the two boys behind me.
"Man, am I glad to see you! These damn hospital people won't let me smoke, and I want out!" I rolled my eyes, simply because he'd been saying that all day. But the boys seemed to be happy with his attitude – probably better than how Johnny was doing.
"Shepard came by to see me a while ago." Dally said as he leaned back against a stack of pillows behind him.
"That's what Johnny said. What'd he want?" Two-Bit asked.
"Said he saw my picture in the paper and couldn't believe it didn't have 'Wanted Dead or Alive' under it. He mostly came to rub it in about the rumble. Man, I hate not bein' in that." I shook my head a I sat down on the side of the bed beside him.
"You fight and your arm will never heal." I warned. Dally glared at me, and I knew that look in his eyes. He had a plan to be in that rumble and there was no way I was going to keep it from him. Leave it to Tim Shepard to get Dally in a mood to go against his own health in order to be involved in something like this. If it wasn't for the fact that I'd be fighting beside the guy at this rumble, I'd knock him around a bit for being such a jerk about the whole thing.
Dally turned turn to Ponyboy, giving his head a shake as he grinned at him.
"Kid, you scared the devil out of me the other day. I thought I'd killed you." I raised an eyebrow. When had he done that?
"Me?" Ponyboy asked. "Why?"
"When you jumped out of the church. I meant to hit you just hard enough to knock you down and put out the fire, but when you dropped like a ton of lead I thought I'd aimed too high and broke your neck." I must not have been watching at that point – it was probably when I made my way into the church to try and save Johnny. "I'm glad I didn't, though." I felt like smacking him.
"I'm glad you didn't, too." I said, giving him a look. He rolled his eyes at me and shook his head, like I didn't understand a thing.
"I'll bet," Ponyboy said with a grin. I'd always found that he didn't get along well with Dallas most of the time. Sure they didn't fight or anything, but there was always something that kept them from being close. I always took it as Dally being too intimidating – he had the tendency to seem more frightening when he was acting tougher than he normally was.
There was a moment of silence as Dally looked towards the window.
"Uh..." I could tell he didn't really want to say what was on his mind, and there was only one thing that would make him pause like that. "how's the kid?" I bit my lip. I hadn't told him anything besides saying that Johnny wasn't doing really good and the basics of his injuries. I didn't know what the boys were going to say about what was happening.
"We just left him," Two-Bit said. The look on his face told me he was debating if what he had to say was worth saying. It's sometimes easier to keep the truth from people than to have them know. "I don't know about stuff like this... but... well, he seemed pretty bad to me. He passed out cold before we left him." He glanced at me, and I felt anger heat my cheeks. His mother's arrival had stressed him out until he passed out. If I saw her any time soon, I was going to give her a piece of my mind.
I glanced at Dally to see that he'd clenched his jaw, and I could hear him swearing under his breath through clenched teeth.
"Two-Bit, you still have that fancy black-handled switch?" Dally asked a moment later, his jaw still clenched tightly."Yeah."
"Give it here." Two-Bit reached into his back pocket and pulled the blade out. It was a real nice blade that he swiped one day out of a hardware store, after a couple hours of diverting attention away from him. He kept it close – and sharp – but never used it against anyone. It was all for show. He never just handed it over to anyone, but considering it was Dally, under the state he was in right now, there was no way he was going to argue. Plus Dally had his own blade somewhere, he knew that Two-Bit loved that blade more than anything else, so if he was asking, I could only imagine that he needed it badly.
"We gotta win that fight tonight," Dally said as he looked at the blade once he flicked it opened. "We gotta get even with the Socs. For Johnny." He closed the blade and stuffed it under his pillow before he went to starring at the ceiling. He was done talking, the look in his eyes was one that told me it was time to leave him alone for a little while. I stood up, and motioned for the two boys to follow me.
"I'm just gonna step out for a bit, Dally. I'll be back later." He didn't say anything as we all left the room, he just sat there starring at the ceiling. I closed the door with a sigh and turned to Two-Bit and Ponyboy. "Sorry guys, you know how he gets." They nodded and Two-Bit ran a hand through his hair.
"We'd better be getting back home anyway." He said and turned to Ponyboy. He nodded and excused himself to go to the washroom, leaving Two-Bit and I in the quiet hallway.
"You doing OK, Mia?" He asked and it took me a moment to nod my head.
"Yea, I'm fine." I said with a smile. "I've dealt with worse." He gave me a look and I sighed. "I just can't stop thinking about how badly things will turn out if Johnny doesn't make it. You've seen him, Two-Bit. He isn't going to make it." I'd never seen Two-Bit so serious as he nodded and wrapped me in a hug, careful to avoid my shoulder.
"It's gonna be alright." He said. "Dally can take it." I took a deep breath and nodded, though deep down I wasn't so sure. Dally could take a lot, but could he really take Johnny dying?
Just as we parted, Ponyboy came back and I rubbed a hand through his hair.
"I'll see you tonight, guys." I called as they moved down the hallway towards the exit. They waved, and I sighed as they disappeared and I was left alone in the hall.
I turned to the door and knew that I couldn't go back in yet, Dally would still be furious – especially since I hadn't given him any details of how badly Johnny was doing when he asked me the first time. So I decided to wander the corridors for a little while, since there was nothing else I could do.
After an hour and a half of hanging around the hospital cafeteria and hallways, I went back to Dally's room. It was almost time for the rumble, and I could feel the buzz of adrenaline starting to run through me. It was 5:30, so I still had time before the fight. I slowly opened the door to the room and walked in quietly. Dally was leaning back on the bed, a car magazine in his hands. He looked up long enough to see that it was me before turning back to it.
"Where have ya been?" He asked as I walked over to the chair and dropped down in it, resting my elbow on the arm.
"I went for a walk around the hospital a couple dozen times and tried to swallow the stuff they call food down in the cafeteria here." I said as I pulled another car magazine out of a stack under the nightstand table. "Figured you'd be in a bad mood for a while, so I just left you alone."
"Not my fault you didn't tell me about the extent of Johnny's injuries." I rolled my eyes behind the magazine and pretended to not be interested in the fact that he was getting angry again, but a moment later the magazine was ripped out of my hands and I was starring at Dally's angry face. "Answer me when I'm talkin' to you." He hissed. I shoved myself back and stood up, pacing beside the bed for a moment.
"What do you want me to say, Dally?" I finally asked. "That he's never going to walk again, even if he makes it out of this hospital?" I saw his eyes grow just a little at the word if. "Yea, Dally. If. The chance of him making it out of here is so slim that there's no point in even thinking that there's a chance. Do you realize miracles would have to be real if you wanted him to survive? Do you know his mother was here? That she stressed him out so bad that that's what caused him to pass out earlier today? Do realize he'd be better off dead than to get out this place and have to go live in that house with his parents?!" I was yelling now, and pacing and pulling at my hair. I felt like crying, and for once, I did. I stopped at the far side of the room, facing the window for a moment before turning back to look at Dally. "Do you know how hard it was to sit by his bed and look at him and.." I trailed off, trying to control my tears. "And see that he's going to die. There's no way around it Dally. He's as good as dead." Dally was shaking his head.
"You're wrong." He snapped. "It's like you want him dead." I somehow managed to be over at the bed before I could even think about what was happening and I slapped him.
"How dare you say that to me!" I screamed, holding my stinging hand. "You're not the only one who cares for him! If anything, I care for him far more than you do!" I found myself flat on the floor, the air pushed from my lungs, and wrestling to get Dally off of me. We rolled around on the floor for a few minutes before a nurse came in. She called out into the hallway and a second later, Dally and I were being pried apart by two heavily built doctors.
"I hate you!" I snapped at Dallas. "You only ever care about yourself and what you want and you never think about the people around you!" Dally tried to pull himself out of the grip of the doctor holding hi back, but the guy was pretty big – he looked more like a wrestler than a doctor – and he stopped. But he glared at me.
"Not like you're any better." He sneered. "You're a drama queen, Mia. Always have been since we were kids." I glared, not saying a word.
"I think it's time for you to leave, miss." The guy holding onto my arms said, and I let him pull me to the door.
"You better not show up at that rumble tonight Dallas." I warned before I was dragged from the room. "I swear it'll end worse than this did." He gave me a look that would make the devil run in the other direction.
"You never did have control of me." I heard him say before the door closed.
The guy lead me to the front door, and I stood there for a moment, debating what to do before deciding on taking a bus back home to get ready for the rumble. We used to always meet at the Curtis' place and head out from there, so I figured I might as well head over there for the time that was left to wait.